It’s hard to believe that Christmas is next week! Where has 2009 gone? It’s interesting as I drive around town to see so many people who are unhappy and stressed. Drivers are becoming more aggressive and less patient. Shoppers are moving faster and with less satisfaction. We see lighting displays all around the area that include the word “joy” in the message, but where is the joy? Where’s the peace and joy we believe comes with the Christmas season?
Here’s some insight from the Bible:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It may seem too simple to be true, but I believe it is. Joy comes with being inside God’s will for our lives. One of the most-asked questions I’ve heard from Christians since I was saved is “How can I know God’s will for my life?” God’s answer is simple, direct and powerful!
- First, always be joyful. Remember who you are in Christ. Remember your eternal hope in Christ. Christians have THE REASON to be joyful. Enjoy every day God gives you and each new opportunity to enjoy Him. God gives us Joy rather than happiness. Happiness comes and goes with circumstances and moods. Joy lasts forever. Joys outlives circumstances and moods. We have the Joy of the Lord in our hearts because Christ is in us and we are in Christ. No circumstance or mood can change that.
- Second, pray continually. That’s possible because Christ is in us and we are in Christ. God is always with us. We don’t have to wait until a certain time of the day to pray. He’s always in us. We don’t have to wait until we’re in a certain place. He’s always in us. We don’t have to wait for others to pray. He’s always in us. Christians can live a life of prayer because we are in Christ and Christ is in us. That’s a permanent prayerful relationship. Always be in an attitude of prayer and dependence on God. Trust Him for everything. He’s your Father. He loves to give good things to His children. And He does!
- Third, give thanks in all circumstances. Be glad for what God’s given you. See the good in what God does for you. Know that God cares for you with all His Heart and watches out for you every moment of your life. He gives you so much and wants you to be thankful. Understanding Christ in you and you in Christ is to be thankful forever!
When we live our lives in this way, God can easily and clearly point us to other areas of His will for our lives. The difficult decisions about what to do, where to go, who to marry, etc., will become clear as we understand what it means for Christ to be “in” us and us to be “in” Christ. The Will of God lives in us and guides us. Ours is to listen, obey and enjoy.
What does this have to do with Christmas? Jesus came from Heaven to earth to bring us joy! Remember what the angels sang when they announced the birth of Jesus Christ —
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
The angels of Heaven brought the people of earth “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Notice the angel used the words “great joy.” Most of us have experienced joy in our lives, but what the Jesus brings us a message of great joy.
Where’s the joy? It’s in Jesus! If Jesus is your Savior and you are in His will for your life, you will experience great joy.