There are a lot of things that are outside of our control, ranging from the weather to the guy ahead of us on the road more concerned with his email than driving his car. I cannot control the laws passed in other states any more than how my goofy high school pal votes.
What I can always control is my own perspective and my attitude.
No one, and no situation, gets to steal your joy… unless you allow them to do so.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, joy is “neither happiness nor pleasure.” Instead, the Bible describes joy—true joy—as something that transcends time and the things of the earth. Joy comes from knowing, in the words of Horatio Spafford, “It is well with my soul.”
Most of the establishment crony media and the politicians for whom they shill exist to separate you from your joy. A person without joy is easily manipulated and controlled. This is why socialists and their communist brethren around the world denigrate the church and, ultimately, drive a wedge between people and the Eternal Joy of God.
A joyful people might be buffeted by Satan and face trials engineered by conniving men, but they won’t be talked into real or political shackles because they are told it is good for them. The joyless and the spiritually downtrodden will do so every time. “Just take care of me!” cries those who don’t know joy. “Give me something to be happy about!” they plead to any would-be master.
The measure of our joy is found where we direct the vision of our hearts and minds. This is what the Apostle James meant when he wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
All things considered, we have it pretty easy as 21st Century Americans. The church is full of soft people whose greatest spiritual trials consist of a traffic jam on the way to worship.
Fuming as we do at the drivers ahead of us as we crawl along the “expressway,” it makes absolutely no sense to hear that early Christians confounded their Roman captors by singing happy songs of faith while waiting for and heading to execution.
Count it all joy, indeed. Those men and women had their eyes fixed on their perfection and completeness, not the situation imposed on them.
Times could be changing. We see it in small ways and big ways. The attitudes of culture writ large have been shifting against the Judeo-Christian ethic. People of faith are objects of ridicule, which is a prelude to worse things. How will we react? Will we allow our joy to be taken from us?
Consider the words of encouragement attributed to the early English missionary, Boniface:
Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare ourselves for trial.
Let us neither be dogs that do not bark, nor silent onlookers,
nor paid servants who run away before the wolf.
Instead, where the battle rages, let us find ourselves.
Run towards the roar of the lion!
Run towards the roar of battle!
That is where Christ’s most glorious victories shall be won!
Let us, likewise, run to the roar with joy!