Focus: Pursuing joy
Psalm 51: 12 (NKJV) Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
We live in a cruel, evil, and fallen world. If it we didn’t have God, we would be in utter despair. Imagine not believing in God and living in these times. How do unbelievers make it through a day?
The conditions in our world are totally lining up with scripture. Evil is getting worse and worse. It’s common for people to resist the truth because they have become so callous from the negative images and messages they allow their minds to be bombarded with.
Through time spent in the Word of God and prayer, we can become saturated by the Holy Spirit of God, so that we are filled with boldness and power from on high.
We must use deliberate wisdom about how we live, where we go, who we see, what we say, who we listen to, why we listen, and what we think.
God has promised blessings to those who are truly seeking Him. Are you doing that on a consistent basis? Is your spiritual life something you cultivate on a daily basis? Are you pro-active in your walk with the Lord, or do you tend to run to Him when you’re in some kind of trouble or trauma?
To live a restored life and be in a condition of continual blessing, it’s important to invest yourself in time well-spent with the lover of your soul. When your heart if filled with true desire for the Lord and His ways, this is not a heavy sacrifice. It’s a delight.
Psalm 42:8 says, “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”
After a period of heavy trials, you might begin to notice that you aren’t laughing as much as you used to. Maybe you find fewer reasons to have a happy outlook on life. Without realizing it, you might have turned into someone who sees the glass of water as being half empty, instead of half full. It’s possible that you go through your day wondering what evil thing will happen next. What hardship will you or someone you love have to bear?
In order to stay in a place of restoration with a joyful attitude, it’s important that you discipline yourself to keep a positive outlook.
People will continue to fail us until the end of time—but don’t stay focused on that!
When I’m around people who have a negative spirit for any length of time, the critical talk starts to wear on me. It’s hard to imagine they can’t see or hear themselves speaking and realize that what they are saying is not what God would want them to spend all of their time on.
It takes self-control to put limits on the amount of bad stuff that you pay attention to—whether it’s talk radio, group discussions, a one on one dialog, or even the few moments you spend reading a column from the newspaper.
Several years ago, I realized my joy was gone. I’d lost my sense of humor and nothing seemed funny, cute, or clever to me anymore. I was beyond burned out. I hadn’t noticed that ‘joy’ had left. I was busy with the business of life and too focused to realize the change that had taken place in me. I had allowed reality to overwhelm me with pessimism and gloom. I didn’t feel like being around people and come to think of it, nobody was beating my door down, either.
If you feel like that right now and you don’t seem to know how to bring about change for the better…say a prayer. Psalm 71:1-2 is a good one. ‘In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and save me.’
Pursue joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Ask God to give you back your joy. That’s what I did. Little by little, I began to feel the weight lifting and I started feeling lighter inside. Not too long after that, I noticed that I was laughing, and it was a good feeling. My joy was back.
Declaration: I will find new strength by asking the Lord to return the joy of my salvation to me. I will pursue ‘joy’.
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