Sometimes we feel like all joy is gone. We are hopeless that we will ever get it back. But the Lord has promised us as Christians that he will not leave us comfortless; that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:7) But that comes right before a very important verse – a key verse of how we should live to find joy in Christ.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Philippians 4:8
What are you focusing on?
Today we’re going to continue our study in joy. Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of porridge. Something so precious for something so fleeting and worthless. Yet, we do the same. We trade the joy and peace of God for something in the moment, and in turn it causes us to lose our joy. We’ve looked already at two things in our trading joy series. You can read the first two here:
Part 1 here –We Trade Joy for Self .
Part 2 here – We Trade Joy for Busyness .
3. We Trade Joy for Discontentment.
How easy it is to become dissatisfied! Discontentment over our lot in life, having to stay home, maybe over not being able to buy new clothes, shoes, furniture, flowers arrangements, curtains….our house doesn’t look like someone else’s – or WE don’t look like someone else…the list goes on.
Proverbs 15:27 says,
“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house…”
And in Proverbs 15:16 it says,
“Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith.”
Our covetousness causes so many arguments and fightings!
The Bible says the Proverbs 31 husband’s heart safely trusts in her and he knows she is going to do him good. Can he trust that you aren’t spending all kinds of money behind his back, and that he’ll end up with the credit debt later? Does he know you have his good in mind? Or does he feel stressed out, looking for another job to pay for your wants? If you are single, you are preparing now. Is there constantly something on your mind that you just have to buy? Are your credit cards constantly maxed out, and you’re stressed trying to pay for everything – yet unhappy because you need “just one more thing”? There is no joy found there. We have allowed things we want to steal our joy.
When we are not grateful for what God has provided, it only causes strife – between husbands and wives; mother’s and daughters; friends.
The Lord gives us some good instruction on how to avoid losing our joy.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”Romans 13:14
~”Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ”
First, we need to pray for help in this area. Ask him to give us contentment with what He has provided for us. We then need to praise HIM. Thank Him for what He has already given you.
When I was especially struggling with this in Ukraine, I made a list daily of 10 things I was thankful for. Praise makes such a difference! When you have a grateful heart, it is hard to not have joy because you are overwhelmed with the goodness of God!
~”and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
The second part of that is you being proactive. Not putting in front of you things that cause you to become discontent. It can be places you go, accounts you follow, shows you watch…
Do you recognize that going into Hobby Lobby causes you to be sad because you can’t get what you want?
Avoid it, at least for a while.
I actually had to do that for a while because I noticed it breeding discontentment in me. I would see someone filling their buggy with anything that they wanted, grabbing anything that caught their eye…while I was sitting there debating an item. Sadness would creep in, and I’d lose my joy to lust of the flesh. So, I cut out going to Hobby Lobby because it was a joy stealer in my life.
Maybe it’s not Hobby Lobby… Does going into Marshalls steal your joy? Avoid going in. Following a certain account cause you to be very dissatisfied with you looks, home, clothes? It may be better for you to avoid those type of accounts, at least for a while.
“Make not provision for the flesh.” – don’t put yourself in places where you know it’s going to cause you to become discontent!
1 Timothy 6:6 says,
“But godliness with contentment is great gain…”
Learning to be content can be so hard, yet it may make the biggest difference in your life! I truly pray that this series can be a blessing and encouragement to you!
Is there a particular area that you have struggled with? Has the Lord helped you in this area? I would love to hear how the Lord helped you to be more content!