Changing Perspective – Choosing Joy

It is a choice:  worry or joy

  • Husband calls on the way home from work after four days on a new job with the news he is no longer employed. Worry or Joy?
  • Oldest son comes home late and discovers younger brother is not at home where he should be. Worry or Joy?
  • Papers are served for foreclosure on home for the third time in five years.  Worry or Joy?
  • School calls with information child is being expelled for possession of drug paraphernalia.  Worry or Joy?
  • Mother is rushed to doctor’s office with heart palpitations. Worry or Joy?

In every stressful, trying or tempting situation there are only two choices:

1)  The wrong way of worry and fear OR 

2) God’s way of Unending Joy and Prevailing Peace!

Life is full of this choice between worry and joy.  Everyone struggles.  Everyone has tough times, conflict, financial stresses, disobedient children, marital issues,loneliness, frustration, and the list goes on and on and on.  One person’s struggles may be vastly diverse from yours or mine, but the truths remain the same.  Life is hard.  We get discouraged.  We worry!  But, is that normal for God’s children?  Should we not have something to see us through beyond the status quo of anxiouness and fretting which plagues the world at large?  As strangers and aliens of this world, God’s people are supposed to be unique and holy.  When life throws hard blows at you, I believe the difference should be JOY!

Through my years as a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, my Lord and Savior, I have very often read the first chapter of the Book of James (Jacob) in the Bible and thought to myself, “This will never be possible.  I will never learn to count all my trials and struggles and temptations as joy.”

The Book of James - side
God had to change my perspective; I needed to see the truth of the matter.
 

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.”
James 1:2 [Amplified Bible]

How can joy be unending when life is full of worry?

Struggles, trials, temptations – whatever you want to call them – they tend to produce the opposite of Joy.  These experiences produce worry.  But, is that really how it has to be?  Must we worry?  Must we be anxious when there is no job, no money?  Must we fret over our children, our parents, our situations at work, school, or church?

According to God’s Word, it is not something we must do.  In fact. for the child of God and as a disciple of Yeshua the Messiah, it is something we must NOT do.  The old Jewish sages write that the only legitimate reason to worry is “because one worries.” Worry should not be the state of normal for God’s people.

For the child of God, Joy is normal – Worry is not

Life is challenging.  Life has troubles.

Yeshua told us we would have troubles in this world (John 16:33)   The Hebrew word would be tsuris, literally meaning troubles.  Therefore, if the Messiah Himself has told us life in this world would be full of troubles, why would we expect anything else?

Troubles, struggles, trials, and temptations are unavoidable, but what we can avoid is fear which gives birth to worry.  Expect troubles, but do not fear!
The complete text of John 16:33 says

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [NIV]

What things? To what was Yeshua referring by saying, “I have told you these things”?  To sum up what He was telling his disciples in chapters 15 and 16 of John:  The world has treated me abominably and will do even worse in the days to come.  Do not think the world will do any less to you!

In other words – EXPECT TROUBLES!

The entire discourse of these chapters in John (Read them for yourself HERE.) is an encouragement to bear good fruit by the power of being IN the Messiah, but also a forewarning that when one is in Messiah, one is plucked out of this world and no longer a part of it.  Since the Disciples of Messiah Yeshua are Not-of-this-World, the world-system, seen and unseen, hates them.  The world-system hates us when we “abide in Messiah”!  Trouble will arise because of that hatred, and simply because of mankind’s sinful state.  Adam’s sin brought trouble to us all.  BUT – Yeshua has conquered the system of this world AND the power of sin, and by the power of the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) we will be guided through that system and no longer be slaves to sin if we abide in Him.

Several times throughout these chapters, Yeshua says, “I’m telling you these things so that…”

  • “…my joy will be in you, and your joy be complete” (John 15:11)
  • “…you won’t be caught by surprise” (John 16;1)
  • “…united with me, you may have peace” (John 16:33)

Verse 33 of chapter 16 brings a summation to the entire passage where Yeshua tells His disciples the reason He is revealing all of these things to them is so that they can be united with Him and have shalom [peace] in spite of the fact they will have troubles IN THIS WORLD.  But, they should be brave and not fear.  Why?  Because HE has overcome, or conquered, this world!  Hallelujah!

Joy without end and Peace which prevails are possible!

Troubles will come, especially for those of us who are not-of-this-world.  Trials and struggles are inevitable, and temptation cannot be avoided.  So, how can it be possible to count these things as ALL JOY (unending joy!)?  How can joy exist in the face of a world-system that hates us?  How can we have peace in the face of temptation and trial?

Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  

No Fear - sideWe are commanded over and over again in God’s Word NOT to fear.  Fear of anything gives birth to worry and worry grows into unsound Stinking Thinking .

 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”  2 Timothy 1:7 [Amplified Bible]

We are commanded not to worry or be anxious about ANYTHING, but in ALL things to bring our requests and petitions before God.

“Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. Then God’s shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua. In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:6-8 [Complete Jewish Bible]

In the end, it all comes down to CHOICE

Will you choose to let fear in the midst of trials, troubles, struggles, and temptations birth worry in your mind which produces unsound thinking?

OR

Will you choose to let the Holy Spirit comfort you and keep your thinking sound and powerful so that DESPITE the inevitable trials, troubles, struggles, and temptations you will possess Prevailing Peace and Unending Joy?

My favored definition of JOY is this: knowing beyond any doubt that my God is exactly who He claims to be and will do exactly as He has promised.

THAT is TRUST! Trust produces JOY!

If you are plagued by worry and fear, then ask yourself this:

What is is about my God that I do not trust?

His character? His faithfulness? His power? His sovereignty?

What Choice will you make?  Worry or Joy?

Truth is the weapon of choice against Worry

In recent, difficult circumstances I have been able to “count it all JOY” by choosing to thank God for the opportunity to walk out in faithfulness what He has been teaching me about TRUSTING Him.  Trouble has come to our household, yet joy is unending and peace prevails.  Daily, sometimes hourly, the temptation to fear and worry rears its ugly head, and I have to CHOOSE to unite my mind by the power of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) with the Messiah – to abide in Him so that the fruit of my life is the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

I have chosen TRUTH!  I have chosen Joy and Peace!  In this, there is great FREEDOM!

Yeshua knew so much more than what is contained in John 15 and 16.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

John 16:12-13a [NIV]

The Holy Spirit is our guide.  He is the Spirit of Truth.  Truth is Freedom.

It is freedom from fear, freedom from worry, and freedom to consider it ALL JOY when troubles come your way.  Freedom by way of truth gives peace.

It is my prayer that each of you will also have the opportunity to walk out in faith what God is teaching YOU by choosing to TRUST, and that the Spirit of Truth will produce in you Prevailing Peace and Unending Joy.

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