As I worked through this section of the study, my mind continuously ended up with thoughts of Sharon Longbottom, who formed and led this Bible Study.
If you didn't know Sharon, did you find yourself thinking about those people you know that are just joyful? The kind of joy that just flows from the inside out. They are contagious and you find yourself just wanting to be around them. Their lives are simply celebrations of God's grace. Oh, how I miss her!! But the joy that flowed from her is in me.
God reminded me of that this week. His joy is mine to claim and mine to loose. He doesn't take it from us, but it remains with us in His very presence.
Then, during the video, Beth described that our joy should be "defiant" joy. Now, most of us have "defiant" down pretty well, so this one shouldn't be too hard!! A joy that defies the circumstance. A joy that is founded on the fact that we are saved, not just saved to eternity, but saved from hell.
Most of us have heard the scripture from James 1:2 that tells us that we will see hard times... no "if" or " maybe," but we will. Then, as Christians embracing the truth that we will share in the struggles of Christ and we should consider it pure joy.
All of a sudden, it doesn't seem so easy a task, this choosing joy. Think about it, if everything was easy, our joy would easily start to flow from the circumstance, we would become prideful and independent.
God uses our struggles to shape us, transform us, and reveal Himself to us. We need Him desperately and I would bet that each one of us is in some sort of struggle right now. Look for Him, He is right in the middle of your circumstances. Don't doubt His presence, purpose, or power.......Believe in it! Depend on it!