My brethren, count it all JOY when ye fall into divers temptations (James 1:2)~ We must strive to be JOYful under challenging & troublesome situations as such exercises are allowed in God’s love; and these “tests” of faith and patience will brighten our graces now, and our eternal crown at last. JOY is a state of mind that must be purposely cultivated if you are to live and love and influence others as God intended. Fortunately, JOY does not depend on the outer conditions of your material life, but rather on the inner condition of your mental life. JOY is the result of something strikingly simple, though not necessarily easy: consistently thinking JOY-producing thoughts. He who focuses on JOY-producing thoughts in this manner will have JOY! The Word says in Proverbs 23:7 “As he thinketh in his heart so is he”…indeed we can create our JOY in our own spirit! Now true JOY doesn’t just happen, because you think about things. Remember the Word said “thinketh in his HEART”. That means you believe it from DEEP down inside, it’s not just a superficial “front”. When you act it out but it doesn’t come from the heart, it’s more about show. Superficial reactions only consider what others see. But to truly believe from the heart. … That is a sign of true belief and faith. To get there you have to make some changes: Certain comfort thoughts and contentment with your present state will need to be relinquished. Counterproductive habits will need to be abandoned. Tenured excuses must be surrendered. When challenges come up; people say and do things to you, situations go awry and crazy things happen, rather than being frustrated we have to see it as an opportunity to change our way of thinking and pursue the opportunity for JOY. You have no control over what trial happens to you and you may not really know how it will affect you but you have full control over how you respond to it. You are FREE to choose what you think about, and you have billions of options. Those fruits of your spirit (love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self control -Gal 5:22-23) must be tried in order to be refined. This is something each of us MUST endure! Every time you find yourself in a situation then, think of it as another chance for God’s hand to be on you. Knowing that alone is a reason to have joy. So if your goal is to have your JOY, what specific thoughts would you increase or decrease? What kinds of thoughts will distress your soul? What types of thoughts will nourish and hydrate your soul? What will you allow to steal your JOY? What do you think?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things