“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.”
Most of us have heard of the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness comes from external circumstances, but joy is an internal trait. How do we get joy? Is it found in the power of positive thinking? No, we receive joy from the Lord for strengthening and for building perseverance. Often, the feelings of joy follow habits of gratitude. After returning from exile, the Israelites heard the law of God and wept. They’d been homeless nomads for so long and had probably endured all kinds of suffering and loss on the road. Their faith might have been bruised or shattered by the time they arrived home. Nehemiah admonished them by reminding them that the joy of the Lord is their strength. When they heard this, they understood and went to rejoice and thank God for what He had done for them. The Israelites responded with a grateful attitude despite their hardships. With renewed minds, they put their trust in God again and remembered His faithfulness. During trials in our lives, where do we go for strength? Is our character built up or brought down when we feel the loss of control that comes with surrendering to God?
"THE FEELINGS OF JOY FOLLOW HABITS OF GRATITUDE."
LORD, you are faithful. Thank you for teaching me perseverance through the testing of my faith. I don’t always know what you’re doing, but I trust that it’s for your glory and for your good. Please forgive me for being easily swayed by my circumstances. Teach me to trust in you even when I feel empty and hurt. Please help me to have a grateful heart towards you always.