"Living the Joyful Life"
(Posted on February 8, 2009)
In this article, I am going to focus on three keys that I believe can help you live the kind of joy-filled life that God wants for all of us. Of course there are other things besides just these three keys, but these are the things that God had laid on my heart to write about, and I feel that they are all of great importance.
1. Don't lose your childhood innocence. Small children have a certain wonder and amazement in their eyes when learning about God. They have that look when learning about and exploring life in general, for that matter. Somehow, as we grow up, we begin to lose that innocence. As the worries and demands of the world begin to consume our lives, it becomes very easy to lose that sense of wonder and excitement we felt as children. But God calls us to come to Him as a child (see Matthew 18:1-5, among other places), and there are very good reasons for that. He wants us to experience that childlike wonder, joy, excitement, and happiness throughout our entire lives. He knows that's the best way for us to live and He offers that kind of life to each one of us. If you've let the worries of the world consume you, it's never too late to change. Ask God to help you find the pure, eternal joy that can only come from Him, then trust Him (as a small child has complete trust in a parent) to handle the day-to-day worries of the world Himself.
2. Don't spend time thinking about yourself. Think about others, not about yourself. It sounds a lot easier than it is, but I believe that living by this simple concept can drastically alter one's view of life. Thinking about yourself almost always leads to negative thoughts (unless you have an extraordinarily high opinion of yourself, which is an entirely separate problem). Do you sit around and get angry or feel sorry for yourself when something doesn't go your way? If so, what are you accomplishing? By behaving in that manner, you are definitely not accomplishing anything good or worthwhile. You are being selfish by focusing on yourself and putting your own interests ahead of those of others, you are potentially having a negative impact on those around you instead of being the positive light that God calls us to be, and you are letting Satan win by giving in to those sinful feelings. Instead, think about others and do things for other people. That in itself will bring you much more joy than spending time trying to figure out why something didn't go your way.
3. Focus on God. In combination with thinking less about yourself and more about others, be sure to spend time focused on God. This point has two levels. It's important to stay focused on God throughout your day-to-day lives, keeping him at the front of your mind and praying before making important decisions. It is also important to set aside time each and every day to spend with God through prayer, reading the Bible, or even doing other things like participating in group Bible studies or reading other spiritual, Christianity-based books. The main thing is that you are setting aside time each day to spend with God in one way or another. Taking time to do this each day not only draws you closer to God, but it also pulls you away from the daily grind of this world and helps keep you focused on what is truly important.
So, what's the bottom line? Think about God and others instead of yourself and try not to lose that childlike excitement. I believe that applying these simple ideas to your life can dramatically change your on the inside, allowing God to fill your life with His everlasting joy. God offers you all the joy in the world (and beyond). Don't let the world rob you of that joy.