When applying this command to our daily lives, it can often feel downright impossible. How are we supposed to be joyful when life hits hard, when we don't think we can go on, and the future seems unclear?
Strong's Concordance defines joy from its original Greek form of xará, which means to “extend favor, lean towards, be favorably disposed of, the awareness (of God's) grace, or grace recognized.”
By this definition, we can see what God wants us to understand within these verses. Being joyful doesn’t mean that we have to be happy all the time. It means that, even in the dark moments when we can't see the sun, we are to be aware of God's grace and recognize that we are his favored children of the Light.
The times we live in are plagued by uncertainty, and it can be hard to find a reason to rejoice. That's okay because you don't need to be happy, and you don't need to have it all together. Understand that I'm not trying to say that it's okay for you to have a bad attitude, but it's essential — especially right now — to keep your spirits up and not fall into despair. Just acknowledge the grace of God in your life and drench yourself in his presence and Word.
Right now, I encourage you to find pockets of “okay” throughout your day and to lean more than ever on the grace of God so you can find joy in being his presence and commune with him.
Lord, when worry or stress creep into my day, remind me that there is joy in knowing you are with me and that I can always turn to you for comfort and help. Teach me to be thankful for your eternal and unchanging love no matter what else is going on around me. Amen.
Go Deeper — In your own words, write down what you are thankful for when it comes to being a Christian. When life seems to close in, pull out that list and be reminded of the joy that he can bring.
Photo Credit: Alyssa Stevenson