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. ~ James 1:2-4
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22
And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
~ Acts 13:49-52
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:6
Trials of temptation that test our faith...persecution for proclaiming the Gospel...feeling weak from sickness. How do YOU decide what counts as an opportunity for joy? The key in recognizing these opportunities AS opportunities may be in realizing the true nature of joy.
Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, “All my springs of joy are in you.” ~ Psalm 87:7
Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. ~ Psalm 100:2
How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day. ~ Psalm 89:15-16
Joy is not merely the result of a having a good day where everything went right. Joy comes from maintaining our focus where it should be: on God! No matter what happens to us or around us, if we keep our hearts and our minds set on Him, our joy will be full.
When something goes how it should, we are glad, and our thanksgiving for the blessings brings joy. When something seems to go wrong—even horribly so—we can still choose a response that leads to joy, because God is greater than any problem we can ever face. He is I AM! Our trust grows through these times as we take joy in His never-failing love toward us, rejoice in the full salvation obtained through His sacrifice, and give thanks in faith for God's power at work on our behalf.
Our joy has no cause for wavering because it is founded in the unchanging person of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). NOTHING can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39). And when the world does its worst, it will simply showcase over and over that the love of God is a sure anchor, His word is eternal truth, and His joy is a solid strength.
If you have the right perspective, it all counts toward joy!