Thursday, July 10, 2008

An Expectation of Joy

One of our Bible College friends, Billy, sends out a weekly devotional by e-mail. The last one I received I really enjoyed reading and found it to be very encouraging so I thought (with Billy's permission) that I would share it with you. I hope you also gain something from it!

"An Expectation Of Joy"

Do you have to struggle to complain?
Do you have to remind yourself to be grumpy?
I would dare to guess that the answer is NO. For most of us grumbling and complaining come natural.
What doesn't come quite as natural is finding joy in our lives--everyday.
Oh, we may find some joy and happiness in things we are excited about, but how about the mundane?
I would say that most of our life is made up of mundane, normal activities.
How do we find joy in these?

1. Understand that joy is an expected part of the Christian's life.

The famous evangelist, Billy Sunday, said this, "If you have no joy in your religion, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere."

While suffering and hard times are a part of our lives, joy is an expected part of our lives, too.

Here are two Biblical examples:

"Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning."
--Psalms 30:5

"Those who go out weeping...shall come home with shouts of joy."
--Psalms 126:6

To think that we will not encounter difficulties is a naive view of life, but to think that joy will not soon accompany these hard times is a pessimistic view of life.
We are not doomed to suffer and barely get by on this earth, we are made to be people of joy.

2. Bring enthusiasm into everything you do.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." --1 Corinthians 10:31

When we bring enthusiasm and purpose into everything that we do, we will have joy in our lives.
We can make every aspect our lives complete drudgery if we want to--we have that ability.
I've spent time with people who can make the most fun activity seem like a burden beyond compare.
But I've also spent time with people who make the most mundane activity seem like a game. They bring joy into everything they do.
They make the most of everything they get involved in.

I've had friends who hated every job they've had, and I've had friends who loved every job they had.
It wasn't about the job, it was the attitude brought into the job.

3. Be a blessing

The source of our grumbling and complaining is not our situation, it's our selfishness. The focus of our grumbling and complaining is our own self-absorbed world.
When you begin to seek to be a blessing to other people, you can't help but have more joy in your life.
What greater source of joy is there in the world than helping someone else, making someone's life better.

Take a lunch break and go donate blood.
Offer someone with less groceries to go before you in the line.
Stop and help someone change a flat tire.
Help your co-worker with a difficult project.

When you go beyond ourselves and help others, we find ourselves complaining and grumbling less and less.

Listen to Paul's plea to the church in Phillipi:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4

Paul goes on to say in verse 14 of the same chapter that we should avoid grumbling and complaining, but first of all he gives us the formula for this: consider others, not just yourself.
This is the greatest source of joy.

It's Monday. I know for some of you this is not the day of the week you normally look forward to.
But try something different today.
If you find yourself complaining and grumbling find a way to get out of it.
Seek to apply the principles I've given you today.

Maybe after a while it will become more natural for you to be joyful, and less natural for you to be a complainer.

Have a joyful day,

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