As Humans, we are always looking for happiness, that much is true. But when do we seek Joy? The Bible tells us that our Strength comes from the Joy of the Lord. How is this manifested in our daily routines though? Are we relying on our own strength or, are we relying on the Joy that God has promised his people?
How many times have you had a trying time and felt as though you could simply collapse from the weight of all your problems? What were you focusing on? Your troubles, or the Lord and His magnificent ways to bless and keep us. There is only so much life that we can give to ourselves before we run dry of energy, might and ability. We know that we have to rest in order to reenergize ourselves and take on a new day. Most of the time, this reenergization comes from sleep. But sometimes, sleep doesn’t always bring that spiritual rest that we are truly after. Not to mention the insomnia that happens when our minds are reeling on our problems. So, we drudge on, carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders until it builds up so high that we can barely move forward or worse yet, have a mental breakdown.
For some, energy comes from exercise, whether they exercise in their living room, take a long walk, or go to the gym. Perhaps a trip to the ocean or mountains seems promising to bring on a sense of restoration. Or maybe we sit quietly and meditate. It seems there are millions of options when it comes to finding rest and relaxation; but do these activities or, tools of living, truly bring joy and restoration? Let us analyze what we are looking for before we set out on our journey to find it.
Stress is a life factor that affects every one of us. It steals our peace, our ability to emotionally function properly and steals us away from our Spiritual stability. It may come through a job or family member, a lifestyle or an event, but either way, it overtakes each and every one of us at some point in our lives. When it does arrive, some of us ignore it. We pretend that it is not affecting us; while others try and deal with it the best way they know how. Stress most often triggers worry and anxiety, an emotion most humans are privy to. But, It can also seed fear in us which debilitates us from seeing things clearly. We find ourselves wallowing in worry about what we did and how to fix it, or what will come and how to stop the hypothetical inevitable from happening. Therefore, worry and anxiety are only products of the human thought process. They are focused on the past or the future. God instructs us to live in the moment, for today only, and that yesterday is gone and tomorrow will have troubles of its own. Consequently, the Lord instructs His Believers to cast down their anxieties and burdens to Him in the day we experience them. The main question is, how exactly is this activity executed in our daily lives? Is it accomplished by planning a trip away that will lead us to taking time out of our busy schedules in order to change our focus? Or maybe it is working up a good sweat by working out or performing some yoga. These things usually bring us mental and physical relief, but in the end, they may cause more stress because we are not dealing with the actual problem which is most often spiritual or emotional. So it should be agreed upon that the activity we choose to bring us peace should be of a spiritual nature, not a physical one. And while today’s holistic avenues suggest yoga or meditation as an activity that will bring us peace, we know as Believers, there is only one source for seeking true peace of the heart. We must think deeper than our minds, we must look at the heart to find a peaceful place. So, what tools did God give man to de-stress their hearts?
Prayer and Supplication. Plain and Simple. Through Apostle Paul’s ministry in Ephesians and Philippians, he tells the Believers how to live the life of a True Christian. Through this ministry he sends a letter to the Believers in a Church in Philippi to express his appreciation for their gifts and support of his ministry. One of the instructions he gives to the Believers in Good News (or gospel) is found in Philippians, Chapter 4, verses 6 & 7. He instructs us on how to lead every part of our lives through our relationship with God.
Php 4:6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
When we take time out of our busy schedules to sit with God, we start to find an inner peace in ourselves. Spending quiet time with Poppa God is an activity that we can do anywhere! We can use the powerful tool of prayer in our home, our office, our bathtub, our backyard… Maybe bedtime is when we seek some quiet time with Jesus, or in the morning as we prepare for a new day. Whatever way we seek this precious and valuable time is a decision that has been left up to us, but we must do it in order to find inner peace that surpasses our own understanding of the trials we face. The other splendid thing about this activity is that it won’t cost us a dime. We can be penniless and still spend time with God. We can feel hopeless or tired, stressed or anxious. He doesn’t care how we present ourselves to Him, only that we do. He simply calls us to go to our quiet place and stop to listen and commune with Him. He will not charge us money or goods. He simply charges us time and then He charges us up with the Joy of the Lord!
The other gain we receive in spending time with our Heavenly Father is that we receive His gifts that He promised come freely through the Holy Spirit. We receive Peace, Understanding, Wisdom, Patience, Joy and Hope. But the most important one of all these Spiritual Gifts is Joy. We receive Joy as a free gift just for spending some time with Our Lord and Savior. It is the Logical Solution to our everyday stresses and quiets the pondering doubts that clouds happiness in our lives.
Now let us define what Joy truly is. Joy is the Positive Knowing despite your condition or state of mind which causes a blissfulness in your heart. We feel Spiritual positivity regardless of how we are feeling emotionally! Blissfulness is often used to describe children’s state of mind… It can be compared to a state of complete elation or a euphoric feeling. HuffPost describes bliss as the following in their article, “What is Bliss?“. And we know that we are to enter His gates with the hearts of children.
“Bliss is a state of unity, transcendence, completeness, knowingness, wholeness, and uplifted consciousness; it is a feeling of oneness and connection with all of creation. … Bliss is the eternal, forever unchanging reality that permeates the universe. Bliss is where happiness, meaning, and truth converge.“
Even when they are not speaking of a relationship with God, does this not define the identical feelings we are to have in Christ as Christians? It is that feeling that washes over us during a Spiritual Epiphany that tells us we are exactly where we are meant to be. In these moments, there is nothing that anyone could say or do to remove us from that feeling. It is all-encompassing. It is also described as the feeling one has at their wedding. Is the Family of Believers, or Church not referred to as Christ’s Bride? Yes we are! We are the Bride, preparing for our wedding day. Waiting patiently on the Bride Groom in great anticipation for Him to arrive. We don’t doubt that He will come, we KNOW that He is coming.
The day of rapture is one we all have set our eyes on; but wouldn’t it be wonderful to truly understand our Salvation so innately that we knew we were already, at this very moment, seated with God in Heavenly Places as He promises us to be? It is the Good News that delivers this message to the Believers in Christ. That we are Holy, Blameless, and Redeemed by the Lamb of God upon the moment of our Salvation. We have been placed at the right hand beside our Heavenly Father upon our Belief in Jesus Christ and what He did at the cross. Paul tells the Christian community in Ephesus about this place in Ephesians, Chapter 2, verses 5-6.
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead, through our trespasses, (Or dead through and by our Sin) we are made ALIVE together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised up with him, and made to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:
We are made Spiritually Alive through our Believing in Christ. And through our walk in Faith, we gain our Righteousness so that we spend the rest of this life and the next completely free of Sin. We stand Holy and Blameless in the Sight of the Lord! This means right now even as we walk in our Flesh!
Now if that isn’t a promise to live by, I don’t know what is! Listen to the Logic we have been given Saints of God! We have the Truth of our Salvation to live each and every day without burden, grief, sorrow, shame or sadness. No matter what; because God is greater than ALL things. This is what we must hold onto to reenergize ourselves into passing another day in this land. There is no room for doubt, pouting, complaining, suffering or loss. We don’t need extra money, God is our Provider and He always knows what we need. We don’t need extra stuff, it can’t go with us into the Kingdom of Heaven. We don’t need higher esteem or praise, Christ has lifted us above all the nations as to set us apart from this world. We don’t need our definition of love, Christ’s Love is Everlasting! We simply need to put on our New Self, and walk in Faith with the knowing that Christ is for us and not against us. Through that Belief, we have been placed on solid ground and have a LOGICAL KNOWING that Christ is with us, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do we join. This knowing is not only a Spiritual one to rise our physical bodies to the task of everyday living; but also to intellectually rise our minds above our troubles.
So, when we are feeling down, stressed and unrelated to the world around us, remember that we are not alone and never will be. Christ is always with us no matter what the circumstance may be and no matter what we may have done. He isn’t going anywhere. And knowing that gives us a steady and logical strength to keep pushing through our trials and tribulation here on earth. This is not just a view of the ocean or mountains to detach ourselves from a place or a time. This is not just a slumber wherein our minds wander. This is a Factual Statement that we can Believe in, Stand Firm in and Move Forward in.
Joy is not an emotion, it is a logical awareness of our well-being and our Oneness with God. Hope comes from that logical awareness. And it is by these two things, Joy and Hope, working in unison, that strengthen our Faith. When we take each new step in that awareness, we will stand on solid ground forever. The small things won’t matter anymore and the big things will seem manageable. Just as Jesus told Peter when he became afraid by looking at the wind instead of Jesus, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31. We can’t look at the storms in our lives, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is our Hope, our Ability, our Strength to move through any situation. Prayer is the tool God gave to His people to live in these times with constant Joy as our Strength. We have no excuses for being heavy-laden or mentally tired. Resting quietly in supplication is the tool we have to recourse our source to receive the free gift of Joy and a stress-free lifestyle. Let Go and Let God. It is the hardest but most rewarding thing we will ever accomplish in our lifetime.