Do you enjoy every minute of your life? If you’re like me, you would probably have to respond with a definite no. While we want to enjoy every moment of life, there are often circumstances beyond our control that we must endure. Some of these circumstances, ranging from minor ones like a flat tire on the way to work to major ones like the loss of a loved one, serve to squelch any positive feelings we may have when we first get out of bed in the morning. Still, Jesus says that we should enjoy every day of our lives. How can we enjoy everyday life, even in this imperfect world in which we live? Jesus knew that life would be hard at times, so He tells us how to have joy on our journey. In reality, it is not about enjoying every day of our life; it’s about enjoying every moment we live.
When Jesus walked on this earth, He did not experience unprecedented joy 365 days a year. There were times when He prayed all night long, desperately seeking His Father’s will. There were days that He was tempted by Satan. Toward the end of His ministry, many people sought to kill Him and shortly thereafter, He was beaten and crucified. While every day was not filled with laughter and joyous occasions, He had joy down inside of Him. He wants His joy deep inside of us as well, so we can be full of joy at all times. Jesus said, “‘These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full’” (John 15:11). If we seek the will of our Heavenly Father, the joy of the Lord will remain in us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. At the grocery store, on the job, or anytime, we can be full of joy when we follow Him.
Perhaps you are reading this, thinking, how can I possibly have joy? I agree. There are some things in life that are so very difficult to overcome. In these moments, it is nearly impossible to find joy in the midst of our sorrow. I am reminded of the days that my parents and I prepared funerals for my two baby brothers. They were both born premature. They never even had the opportunity to come home from the hospital. Maybe you have also experienced grief through the loss of a child or another loved one. Jesus gave us detailed instruction on how to find joy during difficult times. Jesus states, “‘Therefore you now have sorrow; but […] your joy no one will take from you. […] Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full’” (John 16:22, 24). No one can take away your joy. While my parents and I grieved the loss of my baby brothers, we knew that God had a greater plan for our lives. We knew that God would restore our joy, even though it seemed like a hopeless time in our lives. God’s promises are true and He never fails. If He promises that our sorrow will be turned into joy, then rest assured that it will happen (John 16:20).
You may be thinking...it’s too late. My joy was gone a long time ago. I gave it away. There’s no way I’m ever getting it back. I exchanged it for drugs, alcohol, or some other outlet that promised to bring me joy for a fleeting moment. Your battle may be a personal one, where you are engaging in activities that are harmful to you physically, emotionally, or mentally. Each day goes by and you wonder why you were even placed upon this earth. You wonder if you will ever have joy again. I want to encourage you today. You were put on this earth for a purpose. God knew that you would exist long before you were ever born. You matter. Put your trust in Jesus Christ. There is joy to be found in the midst of your trials. No matter what you are going through, Jesus will give you hope for a brighter future and joy to replace your sorrows. Jesus loves you. He gave His life for you. Through His death, your sins have been washed away. You are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God! Call on the name of Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
If you are a Christian, there could be coworkers, friends, or family members who are trying to discourage you in your faith. In the book of James, Christians are given the following advice: “‘[C]ount it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience’” (James 1:2). Joy gives us the strength necessary to endure sorrowful times, or to overcome persecution from believers and non-believers alike. Nehemiah 8:10 states, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The Lord will give us strength to face every single challenge that life throws our way. Does this mean that we should thank God for our trials? No. James shares this wisdom so we know that these trials, though difficult, will make us stronger. We should rejoice in our trials, not for our trials.
Even in the midst of these trials, though, we can still enjoy living. We may not enjoy everything that happens in life, but we can enjoy the fact that we are alive. We can also enjoy more abundant life by applying the fruits of the spirit to our daily existence. God’s Word declares, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). By applying these “fruits” to our individual lives, we can learn to experience joy on a daily basis. Psalm 1:3 says, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” The fruits of the spirit will enable us to succeed in everything we do: great or small. Through these successes, our lives will take on a greater meaning and we can experience divine happiness, something that cannot come from the worldly pleasures we encounter. Divine happiness is God-given. It is a type of joy that abounds when life is wonderful and even when times are tough. Through this joy in our lives, we can enjoy living life, even with the flat tires that inconvenience us and the great losses that threaten to overwhelm us.
God created this earth and He provides us daily with the means to enjoy and value everyday life. While some days will be harder than others, we can face each day with the calm assurance that God is in control. We can boldly go forth, with the assurance that He will always bring us joy, even in the depths of despair. While we may not always enjoy every moment in life, we can certainly be grateful for and enjoy every moment we are alive. Every day is a blessing from above. I Timothy 6:17 states, God “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” God wants us to be joyful. He wants us to rejoice in our trials, not for our trials. By focusing on the fruits of the spirit as the backbone of our countenance, we can truly enjoy every moment we live. By doing so, we can value life and live a life of value.
In Christ’s Love,