I think we would all like to experience more joy in life. Do you agree?
What would God have you do about growing joy in your life so that you can enjoy others and others can enjoy you? I believe that God does it by focusing our gaze; by focusing our attention on the good things. Everybody we meet is an amalgam of good, bad, weaknesses, strengths, negatives, and positives. In order to have joy, we have to narrow our focus on the good, the positives, and the strengths. Think about it. If you went to a football game and your favorite team is winning, but you couldn't escape the knowledge that there are people being hurt, oppressed, and wounded all over the world, then you would not be able to enjoy your time at the game. Your focus is too broad. If you are going to take delight and joy in anything, you have to segment the positive from out of the sinful world in which we live. In other words, in order to grow joy in your life, God will ask you to focus on the good at times in order to overcome the pain and evil around you.
The word joy is the word chara in the greek, which means gladness, delight, joy. There is a positivity in this word. God the Holy Spirit may have you focus on a sliver of your world to raise your level of joy. It will be something positive about a particular person, something positive about a particular situation, positive about a particular relationship. That particular thing may be the only positive, joy-producing part of that person or relationship, but God wants you to focus there. He wants you to find delight in that small thing so that you can expand the joy to the whole of the person.
Our natural tendency is to see what is wrong with a person, a relationship, or a situation. We think, "It is so obvious to us, so why aren't they doing something about that?" But very few people respond well to the critic -- the person who comes in to tell us that we are doing something wrong. All of us respond to the person who tells us what we are doing right. We all seem to have an innate sense of what we are doing well, and we want others to notice it, also. When a person notices our strengths, our positive behaviors, or our sacrificial actions, then we can receive a little corrective criticism from them.
I can remember what a powerful difference this made in a number of my relationships. I had always been quick to spot the things that needed changing, the things that were wrong, and I didn't have any trouble pointing out what they were. But when I communicated the things that were right about the person, about the situation, about the relationship, then the other person brightened and opened up their friendly side to me.
I can remember a specific time when I was praying through the Fruit of the Spirit and God just whispered the word joy. I said, "Who?" and He immediately brought one of my daughters to mind. She was going through a lot of emotional turmoil at the time, and I realized that God wanted me to spend some more time with her rehearsing how wonderful she was. I spent time the rest of that day thinking of all of her strengths, positives, and good decisions. I sat her down when I made it home to let her know all of these positives that I knew were true of her. As you can imagine, she was very encouraged by this listing of her positive qualities. My actions brought more joy to her and to our relationship.
I watch in horror sometimes as parents, spouses, and bosses rehearse over and over what irritates them about the other person. This produces the opposite of joy. If we instead ask God to remind us of the positive about this person, we would experience joy.
God the Holy Spirit wants you at times to focus on what is good, right, and positive about a person. Listen to those promptings. Some may say that it is unrealistic to focus so narrowly on the good within a person without seeing the whole picture of who they are at the same time. But this overall view always diminishes the joy one person has with another.
Look at the admonition in Philippians 4:8.
"Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
This is God's recipe for joy. Focus your mind on the good things in your life.
I would suggest that you memorize this verse and repeat it slowly as you go to sleep tonight. Let the grace and joy of this verse fill your soul while you are sleeping.
What or who is God focusing you on in particular that brings joy or delight?
Consider what is good about the situation, or what the person does well. What have they done that is very beneficial? What are three situations they excel at? Then determine how can you focus on those areas.
When you apply Philippians 4:8 to the person or situation, notice your level of joy increasing and thank God for the joy-filled moment.
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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