Through Jesus I Can Choose Joy - Part II (by Nicole Boswell)
In part I of this blog series, we learned that Biblical joy is not the same thing as happiness. In this article, we will discuss the importance of aligning our joy with our spiritual mission.
We need to make sure that our joy is rooted in God’s will being accomplished. Gary Henry says, “Godly joy genuinely rejoices in the accomplishment of God’s will, whatever that might mean for us personally. . . Jesus is obviously the great example here. He experienced no greater joy than being a part of the fulfillment of His Father’s purposes, even when the role required of Him was painful and difficult. On one occasion, He said ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work’ (John 4:34). He derived more joy from obedience than most people get from a great meal.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10, speaking of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me, but He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak then I am strong.”
As you can imagine, having something in your life that you consider to be a thorn in the flesh wouldn't have been ideal. Paul prayed three times to have it taken away. He felt that his thorn was a hinderance to his spreading of the gospel. But in fact the opposite was true. Christ said it was because of Paul's thorn that His power was made perfect. Christ was using Paul’s thorn to further His cause. To remove the thorn would hinder Christ’s cause. Paul’s response is just what ours should be: he changed his attitude about his thorn, and used it to motivate him to press on. “For when I am weak then I am strong.”
Do we let our weaknesses strengthen our joy in Christ? I struggle from anxiety. It is in those times of distress that I most feel my need for Christ’s comfort. I need to let my anxiety be a tool to drive me forward, to give me the zeal to press on harder, instead of letting it discourage me and bring me down. I need to let it refine my will into being His will! Our thorns, whatever they may be, need to increase our joy!
This life is not about us. It’s not about what makes us “happy.” It’s not about our goals in this life. It’s about accomplishing Yahweh’s will at ANY cost! This is His story!
In the third and final part of this blog series, we will discuss how we can cultivate lives that are conducive to godly joy. Stay tuned!
Photo by Nicole De Khors, courtesy of Burst.