Editor’s Note: Are you ready to say YES to joy? We are thrilled to announce that one of our very favorite singers — Mandisa! — will be hosting one of our most popular Online Bible Studies — Defiant Joy by Candace Payne (Hey, “Chewbacca Mom”!) — on Study Gateway! Come join the thousands of people who already have signed up for this six week study and receive all these freebies: access to 6 teaching videos with Candace, a free eBook of Simple Joys with contributions from leading Christian authors, Joy printables, and much more! We’re bringing the fun to this study as we dive into Scriptures to see what God’s Word teaches us about joy so deep it overflows to everyone around us. Do you want that kind of joy? We do too! Learn more here…
Christians should be the happiest people we know. Agree? Yet, I have felt for a while now that doesn’t seem to be the general consensus…and maybe you’ve felt it, too. Why is that? Why is it that the people who claim to have found true joy and abundant life in the person of Jesus Christ don’t reflect it in their faces, attitudes, thoughts, business dealings or home environments? Listen, I get it. I really do. It’s hard, y’all.
Like the famous quote from the movie, Forest Gump:
Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Have you ever woken up in a great mood, ready to take on the day, and then after one unexpected let down, disappointment, or choice, you find yourself becoming a yelling “mommy monster” to your kids, and a “negative Nancy” to everyone else? Life derails our positivity and joy like nothing else. And, more than often, we cave to whatever circumstances are thrown our way.
Now, just to be clear, before someone reading this makes an assumption that you have to “fake it ‘til you make it,” I am not saying you need to plaster on a false smile. When you fake it, you begin a downward spiral that leads to shame that will ultimately entrap your joy. So, I want to propose something different to you today:
Faith it until you make it.
It may seem like a gross understatement, but seriously… apply what you believe about Jesus and the abundant life He offers to your day by trusting and obeying Him.
Trust and obey.
Can it be that simple to find and experience a life full of joy?
Trust and obey?
That’s it?! Y’all. Yes. That’s it.
This isn’t varsity team theology, here. This is the basics. It’s 101 in the scope of becoming a Christ-follower. Either you trust Him at His Word and then do what it says, or you don’t.
(I know, I know. Some of you just read that and thought, “Sheesh. Chewbacca Mom is not making me laugh or feel very joyful right now.”)
But, I cannot tell you anything different than what I believe is the secret to actually experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10.
…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
The greatest way I am learning to live a life full of freedom and joy that defies my circumstances, is to simply lean in and trust what Jesus has already promised.
I think we all would do better to pray prayers that ask God to increase our faith before He increases our joy.
We all want joy. I get it. We all want to feel happy. Shoot, we want all the things, right? Who doesn’t? It’s ingrained in us that we have an inalienable right to our pursuit of happiness. And, yet somewhere, we discover it isn’t all roses, sunshine, and rainbows. But, if you’ve put your trust in Jesus and His Word, He gives us the hope and counter actions we need to fight back.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. – James 1:2-4 NLT emphasis added by yours truly
Don’t think your troubles have to be major life detours to derail your joy. Any kind of trouble that comes your way is a moment to test your faith, increase your endurance, and an opportunity for great joy!
Trust that God already knows what you need.
Reframe your thinking when you face troubles of this life: they are not distractions; they are opportunities.
It’s high time that we show this world a better depiction of true joy. Even the psalmist wrote:
Many are saying, ‘Who will show us any good?’ Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord! You have put gladness in my heart… — Psalm 4:6-7 NLT
If we are going to ever show this world any good, or the gladness that Jesus has put in our hearts, we have to see the light of His countenance upon us. And, I don’t know about you, but His countenance has seemed pretty rigid, harsh, and serious for far too long as demonstrated by the lack of faith from those who belong to Him.
So, what do you say, friend? Let’s change the times.
May we faith it until we make it so.
Endurance will leave us lacking no good thing.
There will be no end to the opportunities we discover to laugh it up, embrace freedom, and experience defiant joy!
Original devotional written for Devotionals Daily by Candace Payne, author of Laugh It Up! and Defiant Joy.
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Join the Defiant Joy Online Bible Study
It’s hard y’all. Life and all the difficulties and trials we face can strip us of joy unless we choose to trust and obey Jesus. It’s that basic! Come and share your thoughts on our blog. We’d love to hear from you about defiant joy! ~ Devotionals Daily