Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (NASB)
If the devil can’t steal your joy, he can’t keep your blessings… Dont let the devil steal your joy!
I wanted to share these 7 steps to keeping your joy. Please be blessed and feel free to share if you’re led to.
Step 1: Don’t Keep Record of Wrongs – Forgive
Choose to forgive. As long as you live, there will always be offenses, both from people you know and total strangers. Refusing to forgive keeps you imprisoned to negative emotions, and guess who suffer for it? –You. When you forgive, you liberate yourself much more than you liberate the offender. Forgiveness frees you up to move forward, and enjoy your future. It releases you from the burden of the past. As you forgive, remember to toss the “files”, in other words: DON’T KEEP RECORD OF WRONGS! Don’t keep analyzing and reiterating the wrong done to you in the past. This only leads to bitterness and resentment. Forgiveness is a choice; so choose to forgive. Be quick to forgive, thereby setting yourself free. The quicker you forgive, the greater the joy and peace you’ll enjoy. Last, but not the least, forgive yourself. Yes sometimes we disappoint ourselves too, but if God has forgiven you, why not forgive yourself as well?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Step 2: Looking at Jesus
If your expectation is basically from man, you will be disappointed over and over again. But when you begin to focus first on Jesus and trust him in all things (your relationships, finances, career…everything); you’ll begin to enjoy peace that man cannot understand. And with that peace comes joy unspeakable, joy that wells up from the depths of your heart, joy that is independent of your current conditions or circumstances – the joy of the Lord. To keep your focus on the Lord, keep his word constantly in your heart by reading the Bible, and listening to faith-building messages; because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Stop fretting. Worry can change nothing, but faith in God will. What is past is past, you cannot change that, but you can choose to hold on to hope and faith in God. Praising and Worshiping God will also help you focus on the Lord Jesus.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)
Step 3: What Would Jesus Do?
This question is still relevant today. Checking our actions against Christian principles as taught in God’s word is a great way to keep our joy. The more we treat others as we would want to be treated, and the more we love others as ourselves, the more joyous we will be. Taking the time to assess situations and asking ourselves questions like “what will please God in this situation?”; “what is the Christ-like thing to do here”, “what can I do that will gladden God’s heart?” will help us take the right steps that will fill our hearts with joy. When you please God, it makes you confident to come into his presence without guilt, condemnation or reproach. This way, you will have his joy manifested in you.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1(NIV)
Step 4: Maintain a Thankful Attitude
Take time to count your blessings often. Regardless of your current state, when you take the time to consider the goodness of God in your life, his love towards you, and how only his grace could have brought you this far, you will surely PRAISE THE LORD! Practice being thankful often, and before long you will develop a thankful disposition. Thanksgiving triggers miracles. As you thank God, you will be blessed with more things to be thankful for. Let your thanksgiving out-weigh your requests, and you will be amazed at how things fall in place for you.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Step 5: Surround Yourself with Positives
Let your focus be on things that positively impact your life. Surround yourself with positive people. Shun negative programs or media. Don’t dwell on negative situations. Maintain healthy relationships. Read faith-building books and listen to messages that build you up positively. Don’t be dragged into gossips, and don’t rejoice at other people’s shortcomings. Focus on, and celebrate, the good in others. Spend time with people you enjoy being around and make you smile. Laugh often, smile more. Listen to music that uplifts your spirit. Sow positives into other people’s lives as well. Be a source of joy, and leave others better than you met them.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Step 6: Get Adequate Exercise and Rest
Stress can steal your joy, so manage your activities with wisdom. If you are not sure how to go about this, ask God for wisdom. Get reasonable exercise, eat right and rest well. This will help you be alert to enjoy life and the people around you. Avoid worry. When you worry, your mind cannot rest, and so your body won’t either. When you are well rested and your body is agile, you feel better physically, psychologically and emotionally.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
Step 7: Live an Organized Life
De-clutter your life! De-clutter your mind and your physical surroundings. An organized life helps you feel better about yourself. Start to practice being organized even in little things, and graduate to more important areas of your life. Plan your day ahead of time, for instance. It doesn’t have to be anything serious; it could be as simple as listing 3 to 5 things you want reminders on for the next day. Set achievable goals for yourself, and commit to them. As you see yourself doing things you set out to do, it fills you with joy and makes you feel better about yourself, and your future. Bear in mind, though, that even when you can’t achieve all you set out to do, don’t get disappointed or discouraged, but rather focus on the ones you accomplished, and let those motivate you to keep going.
“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” – 1 Corinthians 14:40 (NIV)
May the joy of the Lord fill your heart and continue to be your strength!
I’ll love to know how you keep joy in your life. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
You cannot praise God continually and lack joy. You cannot be a true worshipper of God, giving thanks in all things and be depressed. Learn more about Praise, Thanksgiving, and Worship – the what, why and how. Learn to praise acceptably and effectively in this book: