The joy Jesus gives is a joy that the world didn’t give to you, and the world can’t take it away.
This is what I know about God:
The joy that He gives transcends your circumstances … which, by definition, means that no matter what is happening in your life, IT IS POSSIBLE to have joy in Him.
Let’s look at Acts 16:
In this chapter, we find Paul and Silas in a very difficult and dire situation. They’re in prison; and not only that, they were thrown in the inner dungeon after they were severely beaten,. Then, they had their feet clamped in stocks. (MMMMM, when was the last time that happened to you? Me either!)
The Bible then says:
- In verse 25: Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying AND singing psalms to God; AND (watch this) the other prisoners were listening.
- In verse 26: SUDDENLY (and I hear the Lord saying that there are some “suddenlies” getting ready to happen in your life) …
- … there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. (Here comes another MIRACLE!)
All the doors immediately flew open.
Did you get that?
ALL THE DOORS IMMEDIATELY (Whoa! Here comes another prophecy!) FLEW OPEN …
(Get ready for God to open doors that no one can shut and shut doors that no one can open …)
… and the chains of EVERY PRISONER fell off!
(When God delivers you, He is going to deliver everybody under the same roof! All He needs is for someone to believe that He will!)
What would you do in Paul and Silas’ situation?
It was definitely a dire situation. But what we must understand is that as long as you live on this road called ‘Life,’ you will experience things that will challenge you in what the Word of the Lord has said about it. Paul and Silas knew, because they had trained their mind and thoughts, that there was something about worship that could change the situation …
… AND IT DID!
This life-event helped to continue to train their minds to view things that happened to them through the eyes of faith.
So how can you be like Paul and Silas?
How can you train your mind to think God-thoughts?
1. Through eyes of faith.
Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 4:18:
“While we look not at the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are temporal (temporary or subject to change).”
Faith sees the IMPOSSIBLE, the UNBELIEVABLE, and the UNTHINKABLE.
Hebrews 11:1 says:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence (convincing proof) of things NOT SEEN.”
We train our minds to think God-thoughts by always going to our final authority. What does this look like? It means we ask ourselves, “What has God said what does His Word say?”
“The just shall live by faith,” and faith comes by HEARING. It doesn’t say “Faith comes by what you HEARD.” It says “hear-ing” … which means what you hear and hear and hear. That’s why it is important to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as is the manner of some; but to assemble yourselves together so much more as you see that day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
This is why you must constantly and consistently speak the Word of faith.
You must remain resolute that you won’t budge from what God has said. Stay steadfast through the eyes of faith. And because we live and walk by faith, we know that “All things work together for the good,” so we stay fixed on faith.
2. Talk to God … literally.
Never take for granted that God desires to talk to you and for you to talk to Him. That’s why He admonishes us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you ….”
God is waiting on you to open up and say something to Him. When you do, believe me: He will talk back to you. Psalm 62:8 says, “O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.”
Some of the most vivid times in my life with God have been when I have done just that: poured my heart out to God. Our greatest example is when Jesus Himself did this in the garden, praying to the Father. Matthew recorded the depth of His sorrow: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38).
Isaiah 62:7 tells us to “Take no rest, those of you who pray, and give God no rest ….”
That tells me that, just like the widow who petitioned the unjust judge in Luke 18, He wants you to “take no rest ” and keep asking and believing. So when you pray and talk to God, EXPECT HIM to do something about your situation. And while you wait on His answer, you are training your mind where to go FIRST; so just talk to Him. Tell Him everything, all the time.
3. Rely on His guidance.
I have been learning many things in the past decades of my life about training my mind to think God-thoughts. One of the main things I have learned is to rely on His guidance.
When you rely on God’s guidance, He will help you discern whether you need to work to change the situation or simply accept it. Either way, you are training yourself to say, “I can still rejoice and trust that God is teaching me something that is going to be valuable and life-changing.”
A great example of God training me to trust Him (and trust His guidance) is when I was expecting my second daughter. I was very excited about the birth of another little girl; I wanted my older daughter to have someone to share life with. Coming from a family of twelve, it was important for me to make sure that I had more than one child.
However, unexpectedly, my little one showed herself to be breached. There she was sitting up in my tummy with her legs crossed Indian-style. All my life, I have believed in prayer and fasting; and believe me when I tell you that we were putting it all into practice when we learned that I was facing a c-section.
We did it all. We prayed, fasted, sowed seed, and everything that the doctor was telling us to do–but to no avail.
It seemed as if nothing was working, but I knew that God was in control–and that He was again training my mind to rely on His guidance.
The C-section did happen.
In hindsight, I can now understand my youngest daughter’s personality and strong-willed mind. She had made up her mind that she didn’t want to twist, turn, and come down the birth canal; and if anyone wanted her, we would have to go in and get her. 🙂 God knew what He was doing; and of course, there is the unseen. What might have happened? We don’t know, but God does; and that is why He is sovereign.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
4. Training to prepare for difficulty.
One of the most powerful declarations in the Bible is written in red. Jesus said, in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The training you endure prepares you to handle the difficulties awaiting you on your pathway to Heaven. “How?” You may ask. Well, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 declares:
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.”
A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian.
That spirit of thanksgiving produces something glorious in you: a grateful heart. Paul says in Romans 12:12 that we should be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. That is why we can:
- live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way;
- bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God; and
- be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience.
You can train your mind to have God-thoughts and live victoriously.
You do this by using your eyes of faith; talking to God; relying on His guidance; and training to prepare for difficulty. If you will practice training your mind like this on purpose, you will see real progress, real fruit, and real maturity start to come forth in your life. You will start walking in victory–and in that JOY that the world didn’t give you, and the world can’t take away from you.
Will you begin training your mind ON PURPOSE today to think God-thoughts? If so, leave a comment below! I love to hear from you!