• Wayne Fox

Can we be joyful all the time?

Can we be joyful all the time?

In my own life, when it came to dealing with financial setbacks, the death of a loved one, or other losses, many times I had no idea how to properly process what was going on. One of the most difficult things is to be joyful, as I thought of the Bible verses that talk about how we are meant to be joyful in the midst of our trials. So, I found myself saying out loud to others when they asked that “I was just fine, doing great.” The problem was that I did not genuinely feel that way, not one bit. I kept thinking, "I'm a Christian and a leader in the church, I'm not supposed to be sad about any of this." In fact, I was thinking that if I was sad, it was probably a sign of my lack of faith in my Lord.

The combination of the growing fatigue and the experience of loss can begin to weigh heavy on each of us. In fact, I have observed many over the years that developed spiritual and physical fatigue as they went through situations in their life. Eventually in some of them they lost their faith.

It is not wrong to enjoy life on earth. Mankind often seeks joys, pleasures, gratification, happiness and thrills of many kinds. Many times, our pleasures take the form of sinful activities. Sometimes though not itself sinful we can also become sinful if family, employment or Christian responsibilities are neglected to seek our pleasures such as recreation, or hobbies. The ways that Christians may find joy in life are as numerous as the people themselves; I find great joy in my family, hunting, and serving others. In the book of Philippians Paul references the Christian joy in: 2:16-18.

Among the joys enjoyed exclusively by Christians is the joy that arises from the forgiveness of sins. Following his baptism for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38; 8:26-39), the Ethiopian nobleman continued on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39). With the apostle Paul and the Philippian church to which he wrote, we as well as all other Christians, can "rejoice in Christ Jesus".

The combination of growing fatigue both spiritually and physically can cause us to begin to rely on ourselves for the solution to our problems. The first thing we must do is realize that we can trust God when our life hurts and we are tired and worn out. It does no good to say that because of sin God has brought this calamity on us. We see that example in Job where his three friends came to visit him as he was setting upon the city garbage heap scratching his sores with broken pottery. And they sat beside him for seven days and said nothing. Then they begin to speak and condemn Job for his sin that had brought on all of his problems. Job 16:2 (ESV)

2 “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. We find the psalmist writes in: Psalm 119:67 (ESV) 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. Experiencing setbacks promotes a teachable spirit. Romans 5:3 (ESV) 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

But that brings up some questions. Does God actually control the circumstances of our life? Do bad things just happen to us because we live in a sin cursed world? If God really does control the circumstances of our lives, why did he allow my sister to die of cancer? Can I truly trust God when the going gets tough in different areas of my life? Many other similar questions and doubts.

The answers to these questions are found in God's word. God intended Scripture to encourage his children during their adversity. We have many examples of people in the Bible that experience more severe adversities than you and I experience: Abraham, Paul, Adam, Joseph, Elijah, Jeremiah, Job, Moses. Elijah ran and hid, while Moses tried to hurry God's plan.

Each of these individuals is a person just like you and I, they had the same emotions and desires that you and I have.

We must remember that suffering or adversity, affects everybody, Jesus suffered greatly. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Satan, whose name means adversary in the Hebrew language. Adversary is a form of the word adversity

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