Testimony / Reflection
In the beginning of this year I felt God impressing upon me two words: Choose Joy. I didn’t know why but upon reflection I understand now. I even went out and bought a plaque at CLC with those words on it; I hung it up in my bathroom so I could see it every morning when I was getting ready.
Then on May 30th I was hit by a car and suddenly Choose Joy took on an entirely different meaning. Those two words needed to become more than just a nice expression on a plaque. I had to make a decision; was I going to choose joy or was I going to feel sorry for myself.
I don’t stand here having it all together. I’ve had to make that decision every day, sometimes several times a day, for the last few months. There have been times where I felt that that I would be very justified in having a pity party. We have all been through times like that. None of us are immune from hardships.
But there is a reason that God wants us to choose joy that I want to briefly remind us about this morning.
Firstly, because there is a reward.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Don’t give up. Sometimes we need to fight the good fight of faith. We need to stay firmly anchored to the Word regardless of what we are feeling. Our reward is maturity when we face our struggles with a positive outlook and see them as opportunities for learning and growth. Also, we need to remember that we have the Holy Spirit living inside us to help us do this. We are not doing it in our own strength.
Secondly, it is good for our health.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
There have been many medical studies done that prove that negative thinking increases our pain levels and affects our bodies and minds in a damaging way. The Bible says that we need to have our minds renewed and think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
Thirdly, it is about our witness to our family, friends and neighbours.
Joyce Meyer has this saying:
• In order to have a testimony you must go through a test. But some Christians just get the “moanies”.
What would we rather have? The “moanies” or a testimony. Over the past few weeks we have been talking much about harvest and discipleship. People need to see something different in us when we are going through different types of struggles. They need to see joy in spite of our circumstances. People can argue about theology but they can’t argue with our testimony.
I would like to end by quoting a phrase from a book by
Kay Warren: Choose Joy: Because happiness is not enough
It explains the type of joy that I am talking about. It is not a feeling or an emotion. It is a decision to trust God in all situations and to praise Him while you are still going through the struggle whatever it may be.
• “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
Testimony / Reflection