Let Joy Be Your Continual Feastby Roger on November 19, 2018
Let Joy Be Your Continual Feast
“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:16-18 TPT).
As Christians we have the potential to be the most joyful and grateful people in the world; and it’s all because the Victorious One lives inside us. Yet we all know from experience that we live in a world where we are regularly faced with disappointments, injustices, sickness, fears and other heartaches. To be honest most would say, “life is painful”. How then could Paul, the apostle say, “Let joy be your continual feast”. Isn’t that promoting a very unrealistic expectation? Wouldn’t it even be insulting? The first century church which Paul addressed faced even more social injustice and hardships than we do. But he boldly told them to live in continuous joy. If we told our suffering friends, “Let joy be your continual feast” it could very well be insulting to them.
Most consider joy to be an emotion that is experienced during good times or pleasant circumstances. Most days are not good times for the average person. For that reason, we do not feel grateful every day. One can’t just turn on good emotions when they want to. So why would Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tell us to be continuously joyous and grateful?
The secret to such a glorious disposition has everything to do with continuous fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Notice the very next sentence. “Make your life a prayer”. The NKJV says “Pray without ceasing”. God knows it would be impossible to be continuously joyful and grateful in this world without His life perpetually flowing out through us. We were created for one purpose, to live in continuous fellowship with Him. God is not in a bad mood. Neither is He fearful or worried. We can take on His awesome disposition as we grow closer and closer in fellowship with Him.
How does this work? Is it possible to rise up in His joy while we are experiencing the pain of difficulties? Yes!
“2My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 4And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking (James 1:2-4 TPT)
I have friends who are very athletic and workout a lot. When they go to the gym they know that lifting those heavy weights will bring on much pain. Not only will they experience initial pain, but a good workout may result in pain that will continue for several days. Yet they happily endure it knowing a fit body is well worth the pain endured.
In the same way, one who lives in fellowship with Jesus can be assured that every difficulty they go through will bring great rewards. A long season of difficulties with no expectation of reward can bring on hopelessness and gloom. But my struggling Christian friend, grasp the promise. There is great reward for your perseverance. This promise from our Lord is so sure that we can experience joy even in the midst of the pain.
Broken relationships, a lost job, or deteriorating health can bring trauma to one’s soul. This stress will test our faith. We cry out to God for mercy and breakthough. These circumstances bring on a spiritual workout. When it seems like you don’t have enough faith for the trial you are going through, what is really happening? The little faith in you is growing and getting stronger just like the one who is straining while lifting weights. They know their body is getter stronger.
A very important key to remember during this spiritual workout is that great reward is on its way. A grateful heart in the midst of the workout will make the difficulties much easier to endure. In fact we can learn to literally live in joy in the midst of great difficulty. While we struggle the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with hope. We can have prophetic experiences, and visions as we bond with the Lord knowing that our prayers are being answered.
No pain, no gain. Every athlete knows this. If you are going through some vigorous trials now, then know that your endurance is growing stronger and stronger. He is bringing you to a place where perfection is being released into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
As this revelation comes to you now genuinely thank your God for all your present difficulties. Thank Him that your endurance is growing and that you are being perfected by these trials.
Our nation is entering into the thanksgiving season. Now we can not only be grateful for our friends, family and the turkey on the table, but also for every trial we ever endured or are presently enduring. Our reasons to complain give way to so many reasons to give thanks.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL!