Welcome To The Light-Washed Path,
Lets begin with a quick review of the essential purpose of joy : To take command and overcome (through joy) trying temptations.
Joy arises when faith exerts itself over circumstances. That is the key to gladness…
Psa. 40:16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee…
Joy begins, not with a feeling of happiness, but with a change of mental focus, a shift from considering the circumstances to remembering God’s Word of promise.
Before joy is ever a feeling it begins as a thought, a remembrance .
Recalling the goodness and greatness of God, which lies beyond what you see, is step one. And for this you must know His Word .
In other words, we rejoice in the Truth, not in our circumstances .
Let’s assume that you find yourself in the middle of a typical set of uninspiring circumstances. Remember the fog we spoke about in the previous segment, and how it shrinks your world down to seeing only the immediate images of your trial. The realities of God’s blessings become obscured, and typical of navigating through fogs, all your attention is focused on what’s right in front of you. So how do you begin to bring joy into the situation?
First you realize that joy will not arise from your situation, it must arise from within you. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, a force of God, if you will, that resides within you, as God’s child. So you don’t need to find joy, it simply requires an act of authority on your part to release it. You begin with step one, then two, three, four, and finally, step five. Joy most definitely is a disciplined progression. And here it is:
We shared this point yesterday. It is the critical start-point of joy. It begins with knowing and recalling the wonderful works and promises of God. Sometimes we need to stop in the middle of a trial, and cast our thoughts out beyond the fog, to behold the vast universe that God has made; the universe He has stretched out and the detail with which He maintains the order of every system. And we are more valuable to Him than all the material of this celestial terrarium in which we dwell.
David said: “O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember you” (Psa. 42:6)
Remember God. Think about what the Word says concerning His goodness and faithfulness. Recall His credibility and the deeds that confirm it. This 2nd step requires that you understand something about God. To recall His faithfulness you must have a revelation about His goodness. Though Moses had seen God’s acts of power, the first time its recorded that Moses worshipped God occurs when God reveals the glory of His goodness to Him.
Ex. 34:6-8 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! The Lord!A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… And Moses made haste to bow his head toward the earth and worshiped.
We cannot worship, nor can we begin to exercise joy in the Lord until we have a revelation of His goodness. It is remembering God’s goodness that gives joy a reason to exert itself. Moses was able to rejoice in the Lord even when Israel could not seem to stay faithful. The Israelites under Moses shrank back from facing God because they only saw His acts of power. But Moses understood God’s essential nature. Therefore Moses could sustain himself with joy while the children of Israel died in their fears, though both faced the same trying circumstances.
Psa. 103:7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
Once you have focused on God, remembered His goodness and mercy; then its time to verbally acknowledge His Truth, as superior to your circumstances. So many of David’s Psalms are a wonderful mixture of Him laying out his dilemma and then contrasting it with declarations of God’s goodness and help. At that point it was like David was counseling himself out loud. And that’s exactly what he was doing!
1 Sam. 30:6 David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Joy will always spring from your own preaching of the Truth. At this point joy begins to exert its authority over the claims of your temptations. And the Truth-declarations of your rejoicing are alone, the only force that can defeat your temptations.
Psa. 27:5-6 For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock. And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Now it’s time to give thanks to the Lord out loud. Innumerate your blessings. Look outside the unpleasantness of your immediate trial and as you remember God’s goodness, thank Him for each blessing, as though you were holding it in your hand. And joy will see to it that you do. David knew that going to church and thinking about God, or even complaining to God was not enough. True deliverance comes through praise and thanksgiving:
Psa. 69:29-31 But I am afflicted and in pain; May Thy salvation, O God, set mesecurely on high. I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the LORD better than an (sacrifices) ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs.
Step Five: Praise
Finally after focusing on God, remembering His goodness, acknowledging His Truth, and thanking Him for it, joy is arising! Now you’re ready to praise God with temptation-busting power. Nehemiah said, ”The joy of the Lord is YOUR strength”. And this is how the joy of the Lord arises in you and becomes your joy, your strength. This is how praising God lifts you up and defeats Satan’s strategies against you. When you follow these 5 steps to joy you will overcome rather than being overcome by your trials.
Psa. 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes you have ordained strength because of your enemies, that you might paralyze the enemy and the avenger.
Matt. 21:16 And Jesus said to them, Yea; have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes you have perfected (ordained) praise?
By rejoicing through trials with the Truth of the Word, He has ordained our deliverance. God’s blessing of joy to every Christian is so powerful and impartial that the only way for us to be defeated is to simply keep us from rejoicing in the Lord.
Stay On The Path!