“…in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus told us that we would experience troubles in life – “trials fall like rain on the just and unjust” and “the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy…” We can’t change the fact that at some point each of us will walk through a season of tribulation. But notice Jesus said, “be of good cheer.” What does He mean? How is it possible for us to “be of good cheer” when a member of our family dies, we lose a job or go through a divorce? How is it possible?
Jesus wouldn’t have made the statement if it were not truly possible.
First, we need to understand that there’s a difference between happiness and joy.
Happiness depends on HAPPENINGS and joy depends on JESUS.
Since joy depends on Jesus then I want to share three ways you can keep your joy in troubled times.
1. Rejoice always, no matter what your circumstances might be.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 states, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Notice it says, “in” everything and not “for” everything. To rejoice means to show joy even when you don’t feel like it. Remember, your not rejoicing because of the bad situation – your rejoicing because Jesus gives us strength to endure all of life’s struggles. “Rejoicing” is a lifestyle characterized by a positive God-oriented attitude that sees mountains of trouble as mere stairs to success. When I leave out rejoicing then I can be assured that joy is going to be left out too.
2. Focus on Jesus who lives on the inside, instead of the trouble happening on the outside.
It’s impossible not to feel the affects of the storms we face in our lives, but we don’t have to lose our joy. During the troubles we face it’s easy to get swept away and to lose site of God, but remember that God gives us strength. Through the Holy Spirit who lives inside we can have peace and not lose our joy when troubled times come.
3. Make sure Jesus is your source of strength.
When hard times come your way, and they certainly will, you will lose your joy if Jesus is not your source of strength. Unfortunately, many people make their source of strength things other than Jesus. For example, some people make their job the source of their strength. Others make their bank accounts and retirement accounts their source of strength. Still other people make their spouse or children their source of strength. All of these are important parts of our lives, but they were never meant to be our source of strength. What happens if any one of these important parts of our lives were to disappear?
The truth of the matter is that real joy can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In Christ there is joy and peace for troubled times. Jesus made our joy complete by his death on the Cross.
Hebrews 12:2 states, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus saw before him the opportunity for you and me to receive a complete pardon for our sins thereby making a way for us to have a relationship with God. Because of His great love for us and the joy that was to come, He was able to endure the pain and suffering of the cross for us. Because of the Cross we have the assurance that no matter what circumstances we may face in the world, Jesus Christ has overcome them for us.
You want to keep your joy in troubled times? Remember this: