Bible Society of South Africa

Goals and resolutions: Joy – 3 February 2022

By Charlea Sieberhagen-Grey

Bible text(s)

16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18GNBOpen in Bible reader

Oh, it is so amazing when a person feels happy. When a person truly experiences happiness and joy. Think back to something that really made you feel happy recently. Perhaps, you heard good news at work or from the doctor? Maybe you were able to spend time with family that you had not seen for a while due to the challenges presented by Covid-19 over the past two years. Perhaps, it was simply a generous slice of cake and coffee with a friend that that filled you with happiness.

Yet, life is not just one joyful expedition.

Yes, we may experience moments of unadulterated joy, but it is usually short-lived due to life’s pressures. And we all have our own stumbling blocks that make life challenging. Sometimes, living life simply feels overwhelming – especially when one feels anxious about finances or health or when one lies awake during the night worrying about our loved ones’ safety or well-being. Then it is not as easy to remain joyful as mentioned in the Bible.

In Galatians 5:22, there is also made mention of the “joy” that the Holy Spirit produces when He is in control of our lives. “The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.” (Galatians 5:25)

And yet, when hearing these verses, I cannot but help to believe that joy, gratitude and prayer go together hand in hand. It actually feels as though the one cannot exist without the others.

Often, I have noticed that I felt deeply discouraged about life. And it is usually only after my mother has preached about all the things I should be grateful for that my perspective begins to change. (Definitely not immediately! It usually takes a while to sway my thoughts.) But as soon as I have shifted my focus, then I try to thank God for all the small things that I am truly grateful for.

It may sound stupid, but to say thank you for the things that you so easily take for granted, like to be able to see, to be able to hear, to be able to walk, to be able to talk, to be able to get up and go to work, or to have something to eat, really changes one’s perspective. It certainly makes a difference for me, so I work through my gratitude list on the way to work every morning, in order not to forget it.

Perhaps, the joy that the Bible refers to means being content and having appreciation for the wonderful things that God does in our lives every day, despite the storms that can so often unsettle us.

Prayer: Thank you very much God for all the incredible things you do in my life every day. Thank you for providing and caring for me, even if it sometimes feels as though life is overwhelming. Help me to see the little joys and blessings in my life so that I am reminded to be happy, as you would like me to be. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.10
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