Keep Your Joy
One little reminder; keep your joy in witnessing. This may slip away if you get too absorbed in the details, or when you hear so many life stories of pain, abuse, suffering, shame, etc., and you may identify so much, that your own joy in the Lord is drowned. Guard against that happening.
First of all, it is the Joy of the Lord. A gift from Him. We are stronger when filled with His joy. "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
Secondly, being with Jesus, or walking in the Spirit day by day, should fill us with such joy that others notice and will ask us about it. This helps you keep your joy as an even, steady condition, and gives you more witnessing opportunities!
Thirdly, simply obeying Jesus will add another dimension or type of joy to your life. Being found faithful to what He prompts you to do in commands and mandate, and those nudges of the Holy Spirit will give you an undercurrent of satisfaction that settles joy and peace upon your heart.
I did not recognize that as joy at first. It sort of sneaked up on me. It was almost like identifying a new flavour I really liked and then noticing it showing up in my foods more and more often. My appetite was whetted for it, and I began to ask the Lord for more of it. Gradually I caught on that all I had to do was to keep obeying Him.
All this does not deny that sometimes our feeling are off the mark, and we shouldn't count on them. Our enthusiasm may be lying down under our feet. Satan has a bag full of tricks to steal our joy. He may be able to fool us into not feeling joy, however, that doesn't change the facts. Look around for the facts, and repeat them. Sing them! Soon our feelings will rise up and snap cheerily in the breeze, like a flag.
Now you are asking, "You said to 'keep your joy', and now you say not to count on them; which is it?"
Both. Feelings are fickle, but once we realize how joy is less a feeling of happiness, and more a state of confidence in our Lord, the more stable it becomes. By controlling your confidence and trust in the Lord by an act of your will, you can in fact, 'keep your joy.' It doesn't have to slip away, or come and go capriciously.
In fact, quite often your joy will be brightest when you are in difficult and trying circumstances. Just be aware that you may have to snatch yout joy back from Satan, who wants you to think it left you, by focusing on the facts.
And the facts are: it is a gift from the Lord, it comes from obeying Him, and Jesus wants us to be Witnessing! So yes! You can keep your joy!
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