The world around us is dark. It is so easy for our joy to seep slowly out of us as we observe the sin that surrounds us. Five minutes scrolling through a news site or reading the local paper shows us more than enough to make us stick our heads in the sand just to make it through the day. We can go through life in an apathetic daze, but we are called to more.
Philippians 4:4 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Paul considered joy so important, he reminded us to rejoice twice in one verse! How many songs do we teach our children about the joy in our heart that nothing can destroy? We proclaim every year at Christmas that, because of the arrival of our Savior, the world should be full of joy. In a song of praise to the Lord after hearing about some difficult times to come, Habakkuk 3:18 says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
So how do we make joy our first choice each day? Here are a few things I try to do continually to help me remember my joy, which comes from the Lord:
- Keep your eyes in the Word. I recently started a year-long Bible reading plan that has radically changed my perspective. Keeping our minds focused on the blessings and words of our Lord each day reframes our outlook.
- Breathe through your nose. It’s hard to breathe through your nose with your mouth open. Oftentimes, we rob ourselves of joy by spending our time voicing our hurt, our complaints or our frustrations without first taking it to our Great Counselor.
- Lift up your voice in song. One of the best things I’ve done is create a playlist called “To Remind Me Whose I Am.” When I feel the chaos of my own life starting to steal my joy, I turn on this playlist and listen to songs that remind me.
- Lean on fellow believers. I cannot describe the blessing that my accountability group brings to me on a weekly basis. We meet once a week to share prayer requests, encourage each other, and maintain our focus on the glory of God rather than our circumstances. Regardless of situations that arise, my sisters remind me to consider it all joy!
- Serve on bent knees. Some of the moments of greatest joy come from serving others, even in the midst of personal turmoil. When you set aside the pressure of your own life for your neighbor, there is a special kind of blessing that comes from humbling yourself in service.
- Remember your salvation. The source of our joy comes from knowing the inheritance we have in the Lord. By continually reminding ourselves of the grace that our Lord gave us when we were so undeserving, we can remember the precious source of our unending joy.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kailyn Eskridge is a member of the strategic focus team for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)