A simple directive painted in black on a small tin background framed in wood sits on my shelf, shouting a much needed reminder. Oh, joy, you have been so elusive. Born with a melancholy personality and an over-analytical mind, true joy has never come easy for me. While some enter the world more carefree and contented, all of us struggle to remain joyful at all times. Yet we are instructed to do so.
Practicing Christians often lament to know God’s will, thinking it is some ethereal, mysterious something that takes constant seeking and striving to know and do. We want a rhema word from God, assuming it will be better than His logos. Does God choose to reveal specific life direction before we follow the plans He’s already outlined? I Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us: “Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus” (TPT).
We are given very precise direction for God’s will for our lives. Scripture tells us the perfect plan of God for our lives is to:
- Continually feast on joy
- Pray without stopping
- Always give thanks
Does anyone else find these directives challenging? This time of year many of us make New Year’s Resolutions, either consciously or subconsciously, hoping to have a better year than the one before. More often than not, we make too many resolutions and few of us achieve the lifestyle changes we desire. This year, I plan to focus only on God’s plan for my life as stated in His Word. I will choose joy. I will pray unceasingly. And by his grace (His power given to me to do His will) I will give thanks, in ALL things.
How will this be accomplished? Through the renewing of my mind. You’ve heard the sayings, “What you think about you bring about” and “Where the mind goes the man follows.” One thought becomes many, then actions follow, propelled by emotion. Life’s tumultuous journey tosses us about and we lose our way to a landslide of untimely circumstances and hardship, again finding ourselves wearied and gasping for air.
In 2018, let us be presence-driven, not purpose-driven. May our waking thought be of Him and His name on our lips as we slip into blessed sleep. May we live each hour thankful, aligning ourselves with Christ through heart-filled gratitude. May our lives be a prayer, an aroma of sacrificial incense to the one-deserving King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us pursue joy and not let it escape us as we focus intently on the feast He sets before us.
Days, hours, and even minutes present us with choices needing to be made. As the New Year beckons with hope and promise, let us be singularly focused on His plan for our lives. May we turn deaf ears and blind eyes to every distraction, learning in His presence to subject our soul to our spirit and CHOOSE JOY!
By Lisa Jenkins-Moore