“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
When I got my first "real job," I wasn’t used to making that much and having expendable income. My happiness soon became contingent on buying something in order to feel better when I was stressed or down. Did I feel good when I made an impulsive purchase? Yes. But that happiness was only temporary. Over time, I purchased many things I didn’t need — things that eventually meant nothing to me.
My happiness needed to be dependant on Who I was serving. That money needed to be spent on Kingdom priorities rather than on selfish wants or desires that would only give me fleeting happiness.
We are called to walk in infectious, contagious, and inexplicable joy that attracts the people around us to Christ. But there is this great robbery in our lives when we let circumstances define our joy rather than relying on the One who is the constant source of joy. By pursing other sources of gladness, we allow the enemy to steal our joy.
The Apostle Paul, despite being imprisoned and in chains at the time, challenged believers to hold on to joy. To drive his point home, he repeats it emphatically: "Rejoice!"
Living in close proximity to God and depending on Him places us in an excellent position to receive a joy that is constant and overflowing. At times it may be so overwhelming that we cannot describe it or put it into words. The reward is that our story of joy will point others to Christ.
Our situations don’t have to define us or quench our joy. Jesus isn’t limited in the slightest by our situations.
Make the choice today not to allow your joy to be stolen!
Dear God, please help me hold on to the joy that You have given me despite what I am facing. Help me to remember that You are the giver of everlasting joy. Amen.
What fleeting sources of happiness are you turning to? Talk to God about any unhealthy dependencies you have for dealing with stress. Make Jesus the center of your life and joy once again.