"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thes. 16-18 NIV).
Being joyful is very easy when you are having fun with your family, are in good health, on vacation, or _____________ you fill in the blank. But your Christian faith can be really tested during times of trial. Being joyful when you feel like crying is very difficult, but I don't believe it is impossible or Paul wouldn't have said it. I believe it is all in your mindset.
Paul and Silas were in jail, but yet they were praying and singing songs to God. It is because of their attitude that they were able to save the jailer and his family.
Corrie ten Boom and her sister were taken as prisoners to a concentration camp because they hid Jews in their house. They were Christians and held Bible studies in their barracks. The building they were in had an infestation of fleas. Corrie complained about it, but her sister said that she should praise God for them. You see the guards would not go in their building because of the fleas so they could have Bible studies without harassment from the guards. So you see being joyful is a state of mind that you can call upon even in dire straits with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Do you start your prayers with thanksgiving? According to the above verse, it is God's will for you to be thankful in all circumstances. This is yet again, a determination on your part. You can complain to God or give Him thanks for a chance to see growth in your character.
Every time a difficult situation arises, it is a test for you. Will you let God take over your thoughts and see it through His eyes, or will you become self-absorbed and rely on self-pity? The latter will only make you depressed and negative. Nothing good for you will come of this. Ask God to help you view everything with a joyful and thankful heart. He will transform your mind, and those around you will be amazed at your attitude.
Help me to be joyful and thankful, even when I want to do the opposite. Help me to show others that aren't Christians, that with your help I can have a positive attitude in all circumstances. Thank you for the Holy Spirit within me that enables me to do the impossible.
In Jesus' name,
My husband and I have been in the ministry in one form or another for 37 years. I have had several poems published in the local newspaper. I write devotionals for my co-workers and friends. I own this article and have full rights.