It’s been a hard year for so many of us. Our list of reasons to be unsettled and unhappy seem to linger week after week after week.
Isolation and loneliness are simply not what God intended for us and for some reason it feels even harder at Christmastime when we typically look forward to our calendars being full of plans with family and friends.
I took a good look in the mirror and decided I need an attitude adjustment. I run to God and ask Him to not only give me joy but to bring it to the surface and make it contagious for the benefit of everyone around me. I have a feeling I will be blessed as well!
So, I’m asking myself a question today and I thought you might need to ask yourself, too!
Name someone with whom you’d most like to spend an afternoon?
I’m not sure, but I’m guessing you are NOT thinking about grumpiest person you know!
Seriously, who wants to spend any significant time with a person who is cranky and miserable.
I’m not talking about a friend who is sad or grieving. I mean the one who is just plain ornery. (And let’s face it . . . there is plenty of ornery to go around at the moment.)
I don’t know about you but conversations with cranky and miserable people weigh me down and sap my energy.
If I get to choose, I want to spend my time with people who make me laugh . . . people who bubble over with joy and help me forget for a minute or two the things that are unpleasant and unsettling.
Because the truth is . . . attitudes are contagious.
They affect everyone around us.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
It’s hard isn’t it?
When life feels hard, being joyful does not bubble forth naturally! And in all honesty, being thankful isn’t at the top of my list either. But if it is God’s will for us . . . then with His help and all-sufficient grace, it is more than possible.
How? Because He is able to work the impossible in us.
Joy is an attitude that comes from deep within a soul that is full of the love of the Lord.
Kay Warren wrote:
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
Joy that is contagious comes from God’s Spirit living in us.
But it’s easy to squelch the Holy Spirit, isn’t it?
When we confuse temporary happiness with lasting contagious joy. When we hold back telling ourselves that…
“I’ll be happy when _________.”
We stifle the joy that the Lord freely wants to give us. And I don’t want to be a stifler for one moment longer . . . especially when I know that God’s will for me is to ALWAYS be joyful and thankful!
So, I’m asking…
Is your joy contagious?
I want to be the person with whom my friends want to spend an afternoon.
Pastor David Jeremiah said…
“When our lives are filled with peace, faith and joy, people will want to know what we have.”
I want that! I want to bubble over with gratitude and joy! I want the people around me to experience the joy of Jesus when they spend time with me.
So, I’m taking a look at the characteristics of contagious joy!
People who are filled with contagious joy are…
♥ Less Self-absorbed
Joy-filled people recognize their blessings. They don’t spend much time worrying about what makes them happy. They are so thankful for the blessings they have they want to bless others. They don’t worry about what “everyone” thinks, what “everyone” has, or what “everyone” does. They focus others . . . on JOY – Jesus – Others – You.
What can I offer the Lord for all He has done for me?Psalm 116:12
♥ Less Envious
Work with me here, I’m working with a “less” theme. The truth is joy-filled people aren’t envious at all. They don’t compare their gifts, abilities, or blessings to anyone else’s. They choose to trust God’s sovereign wisdom as the Gracious Giver of every blessing.
Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.Ecclesiastes 4:4
♥ Less Critical and Judgmental
If you and I are “less” envious then we’re likely to be less critical and judgmental as well. Because let’s face it, much of our criticism begins with comparisons. We want to feel better about ourselves so we look down on others. People who are filled with contagious joy build up, elevate, and encourage those around them. And aren’t they the people with whom we love to spend time?
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.Galatians 5:22–23a
♥ Less Controlling
Joy-filled people don’t have to control people or circumstances because they know, trust, and love the One who is in control and that’s enough. They have peace because they trust God’s will and embrace His plans and purposes for them.
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.Romans 8:28
People who are filled with contagious joy are also…
♥ More Hopeful
It’s hard to find an anxious worrier who bubbles over with joy. Joy-filled people worry less because their hope is in the One who controls the future. The One who is already there.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.Philippians 4:6
♥ More Forgiving
Joy-filled people understand and are thankful for God’s gracious forgiveness. They have been freed from the burden of guilt and shame and they celebrate their freedom by letting go of resentment and bitterness to forgive others.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.Ephesians 4:31–32
♥ More Encouraging
Life is hard. There is an enemy of our souls constantly trying to defeat and discourage us. Joy-filled people understand the need for encouragement and they freely offer it to the people around them. They know it’s a blessing to give and receive a positive word, a little help, and an offering of prayer to build them up when they are confronting spiritual battles.
God did not choose us to suffer His anger but to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now.1 Thessalonians 5:9,11
♥ More Optimistic
It’s true. Joy-filled people tend to look for the good in people and circumstances. They see good because they anticipate good. Not Pollyanna good but blessing good. They watch to see what God is doing knowing that it is always good.
Depend on the Lord; trust Him, and He will take care of you.Psalm 37:5
♥ More Thankful
Joy-filled people count their blessings and appreciate them. They don’t assume God or people know they’re grateful. They tell them and show them their appreciation. And they do it with enthusiasm!
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.Colossians 3:17
Joy-filled people are HAPPIER!
And happier people are more fun to be around. Even when life is challenging . . . it’s possible for those who live with joy to find reasons to laugh and praise God.
Because no matter what is going on in their lives they have God’s all-sufficient grace to say . . . “it is well with my soul.”
Can you imagine how many people would want what we have if we lived each day with contagious joy?!
People would want us as friends. Bosses would want to hire us. Coworkers would want to know our secret. Family and friends would want to spend time with us. And so on and so forth…
It sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?
May all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”Psalm 40:!6
May people want to KNOW the LORD because our JOY IS CONTAGIOUS!
Stop for a moment and ask yourself . . . how contagious is my joy?
God bless you!
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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