3 Ways to Choose Joy in Spite of Troubles

It’s not always easy to choose joy; sometimes it’s downright hard. Here are three ways to cultivate joy even in the midst of trials, according to James 1:2-4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

choose joy

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Y’all, I’m so excited about this new art I just finished! Ever since I heard “joy” by For KING & COUNTRY, I’d been wanting to create a piece that brought the song to life. And, now, it’s done! I did the original art in a lovely blend of blues and purples, which is now available in my shop, and a foil version is coming soon as well. 😉

How do you feel about joy? Does it come easy for you, or do you constantly need reminders to be joyful?

When the day is hard, we’re in a bad mood, things are going haywire, I think it’s too easy to become totally un-joyful. Even if we know that true joy comes only from knowing Jesus, sometimes it’s still difficult to choose joy in the midst of troubles.

Choose Joy wall art print

Or am I the only one who grumbles to myself (and to God) on a bad day? I definitely don’t have it all figured out!

But seriously, how do we choose joy no matter what is going on in our lives? I think 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 gives us some excellent guidance in this area…

Choose JOY: Three Essential Steps

In this beloved Bible passage, Paul lays out three essential things we should do. And when we actually do these things, I think joy is a natural result.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

rejoice always - choose joy

1) Rejoice always. According the the dictionary, rejoice means “to be glad, to take delight in”. And I would add, take delight in the Lord. To celebrate Jesus, and worship Him for all he has done for us.

You’ve probably heard your preacher or another wise Christian say, if you want to change your attitude from negative to positive, just start worshipping God. You’ll be reminded of God’s goodness, His promises, and the hope you have in Jesus. It seems so simple, that if we rejoice in God, we will have more joy. But it makes sense, right?

2) Pray continually. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always remember to pray. But when I do, it changes my perspective! Just as with worship, prayer shifts the focus from our troubles to God’s goodness and sovereignty.

So if you’re struggling, pray! There is nothing better than the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and resting in Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30, John 16:33) to give us a deep abiding joy that cannot be had anywhere else. Can I get an amen?

3) Give thanks in all circumstances. I love that Paul says “in” and not “for”. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to be thankful for something bad that happened in your life. But it is possible to give thanks in that situation.

We have to remember to count the blessings we still have, starting with Jesus, who will never leave us! Even if you’re as bereft as Job, you can still know that God is with you—now, and for eternity. His promises are still good, even in the storms of life.

So, that’s just it… If we’ll simply worship God, pray continually, and be thankful, we can have pure joy even in trials.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)

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