How can I find joy after a divorce from my abusive husband and the loss of my mom was the question I asked God on January 1, 2000? Although I felt beaten up and bruised emotionally, deep in my spirit, I could feel God’s love and light, despite the emotions and reality I was going through.
At this moment, I chose to seek God’s love, refuge, and wisdom. I chose to focus on him and not my emotions or my past circumstances. As I sat quietly, God’s word came to mind that I am his child, and Jesus implanted his joy in me. A joy that is untouchable by anyone or anything on this earth because Jesus lives in me, and I live in him.
We all choose what or who we will focus on and believe in our moments of triumph, sadness, pain, challenges, weariness, and uncertainty. Our choice determines the level of joy, love, and peace we will live in. To help you live in Christ’s joy this year, use these three guides below to keep you focused on Christ’s loving joy and not your emotions or your circumstances.
- Choose the Source of Your Joy
For many years, I tried to turn my negative emotions into happiness without success. I tried to fix what only Jesus could in my heart, mind, and spirit. I could no longer pretend that we don’t live in a broken world in an imperfect human condition. If I was ever going to live in true, pure joy, it had to come from Christ.
Jesus faced all the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual challenges we face, except for sin. God sent Jesus so he could dwell among us in real life to show us how to live in his joy regardless of what is going on in our life. Jesus showed us how to keep our focus on God’s guidance, power, and to trust his solutions as we walk hand in hand with him. Even when Jesus was sad or in pain, he knew the spiritual fruit of love and joy was not dependent on his circumstances or emotions. To live in the only pure, true joy, you must choose Christ as your source.
- Live and Love Like Christ
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NLT)
Although our salvation is God’s gift to us, we are called to learn to follow Jesus as his disciple. To be his disciple, we must commit to learn and study with Jesus in God’s word and through prayer. He will teach us his heart, character, and ways and how to live in them. We will know the truth, and we will be spiritually free.
This verse Jesus shared with us is active and confirms God’s truth, “faith without actions is dead.” Because we are a triune being of body, spirit, and soul, which includes our mind, will/chooser, and emotions, all three parts must follow and dwell with Jesus all day, every day, to live in his joy.
- Learn God’s Word and Powerful Ways
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12:2 NLT)
When we begin our walk with Jesus, many of us are not taught how to study God’s word, how to pray and praise him, and how to create or grow in a personal relationship with Jesus. As you follow guide two, you will notice that dwelling with Jesus changes the way you think, as indicated in the verse above. As you grow closer, the Holy Spirit will guide, teach, and let you know when you need to change something when it wouldn’t make Jesus smile or be proud of you.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psa 32:8 NIV)
To know how to dwell with Jesus, we need to know how our flesh and the enemy distract and disconnect us from our relationship with God and Jesus. Once we know Satan’s lies and schemes, we will know what to work on with Jesus. We must set aside time to pray and study God’s word to find verses that empower us to focus and to live in his love, peace, and joy. When you find these verses, make several copies and place them where you will see them and proclaim them, like on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or on your car dash.
Choose to Feel Happy Through Christ and Thrive
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.” (Isa 43:18-19 NIV)
Your faith, relationship with Jesus, and living in his joy is an intentional decision every day. Choose to live in his joy! To help you have a happy heart, download my FREE Happy Song Playlist NOW!