The Bible is full of admonitions not to worry, not to be fearful, to rejoice in the LORD, and to accept Christ’s peace, but how do we do that in the day to day? And what do we do when our emotions rebel against our head? 😉 Today I’m thrilled to have my dear friend, critique partner, and fellow Christ to the World writer back with us sharing her heart on how she believes we can maintain a joyful heart.
Do you remember that song by Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry. Be happy?” Instinctively I start to sing the next line before my lips can follow along, landing somewhere along here:
“Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo, don’t worry oo-oo-oo-oo be happy now Oo-oo-oo”
There’s just something about that song that makes you want to sing and smile. You can’t help yourself.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Wow, I like the cheerful heart better than the crushed spirit. Don’t you? But sometimes things happen in our lives or the lives of others around us, causing a chain reaction that is out of our control and affects us in some way.
What do we do? Do we humble ourselves and pray, or do we worry?
Philippians 4: 6 says, “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Scripture tells us we should pray; when we do, “7 …the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God will give you peace in every situation and it’s not just any peace, or one we create for ourselves the lasts one minute and is gone the next. But a peace that we can’t understand that calms us to our very core, one that comes from the Father, reassuring us that we aren’t alone.
At the beginning of Philippians 4, scripture very clearly calls us to rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always.” I know it’s not easy to rejoice all the time, but God is saying to choose to rejoice in any and all circumstances. Not because of your circumstances, but to rejoice in Him– Who He is, His love for you, for your life in Him. Rejoice! For the Lord is near!
If we take a step back and look at our lives, not our circumstances, but what Christ has done for us and His grace, we can only rejoice. And if you’re rejoicing, your heart is a cheerful heart and good medicine for your soul.
Which do you choose?
Tanya Eavenson and her husband have been involved in ministry for fifteen years teaching youth and adults, and doing counseling. Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world.
Visit her online:
And check out her debut novel, a beautiful story of God’s unconditional, ever-reaching, ever-healing love:
Elizabeth Roberts can’t remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter’s death, her husband’s affair.
When his wife’s coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can’t erase his betrayal, but with God’s help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.
She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?
Let’s talk about this:
When talking about fear vs. faith, worry vs. prayer, I often think of the verse Tanya referenced, Ephesians 4:6-7. Read it again, taking notice of the words in bold:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
When you present requests to God, how often have you paused to thank Him for what He’s done? I’ve found, when I do so, suddenly, my current problems diminish in light of His power demonstrated by His faithful acts. For example, if I’m concerned about our finances, when I pause to thank Him for all the ways He’s provided for our family in the past, I remember He’s always provided for our needs, so why should this instance be any different?
I’ve often found negative thinking breeds negative thinking and fear, if left unchecked, begets more fear. But how can actively determining our thoughts, or, as the Bible says, taking our thoughts captive, help us combat fear?
What are you worried about today? What aspects of God’s nature combat that fear? I encourage you to write ten things you know to be true about God. Keep those written attributes with you, and when you begin to feel fear creeping in, pull them out and pray them, thanking God for being who He is.
(If you struggle with fear and/or anxiety, you might find the following article helpful: Battling Anxiety.)
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on Living by Grace, or join our online Bible study. We’d love to have you!
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