Nov 19th, 2021
The Secret Sauce: Be Joyful Always
By: Evan Wehrle
2 minute read 

2 Corinthians 6:10 “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” (NLT)

The final threat to our joy is Circumstances.

Not our circumstances themselves, as Paul reminds us in Philippians 4. “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

So what is the threat? It’s putting our joy in our circumstances.

When I think of putting my joy in my circumstances I think of motion sickness. Sounds weird, but stay with me.

You get motion sick when there’s conflict between your senses. Say you’re on a ride at the fair that’s spinning you around and upside down. Or you’re bobbing in a boat on the ocean. Your eyes see one thing, your muscles feel another, and your inner ear senses something else. Your brain can’t take all those mixed signals. That’s why you end up feeling dizzy and sick. (Some of you could probably get sick just thinking about it!)

When you feel this, here’s what the experts say: Look at a stable object. If you’re in a car, look through the windshield. If you’re on a boat, look at a solid object on shore.

It’s the same with our joy. If we focus on the circumstances of life we’ll be happy one moment and devastated just as quickly. Instead, we need to focus on something constant

Your circumstances include your job, your family, your income, your age, where you live, your health and a plethora of other things. And here’s the kicker about every last one of those: they all change. Sometimes slowly and sometimes in a moment. But if we put our joy in them we might as well be building on sand.

My advice: start building your joy on something unchanging!

Go and read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (the larger context for today’s verse), Paul outlines a series of incredibly hard experiences: he and his team were abused, beaten, had sleepless nights, and times of desperate need. Sandwiched into all that he writes: We were sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. The point is to cultivate your joy in the only unchanging thing in life, God himself.

So your circumstances may be more difficult than any I've ever experienced. But the truth is, it’s our response to our circumstances rather than the degree of difficulty that’s important. When we hear commands like “rejoice always” that we’ve studied this week our instinct is to try to produce joy, to just manufacture it. Instead, as my good friend Gary Black says, “it’s better to receive it.” Joy comes from resting, not running; it comes from trusting, not striving.

To recap, this week we’ve looked at four roadblocks to joy: comparison, commotion, cynicism, and circumstances. As you head into the weekend, ask God to help you cultivate your joy in unchanging truths so you can become a person who “rejoices always”.

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