Comfort And Joy In Topsy-Turvy Times

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Comfort And Joy In Topsy-Turvy Times
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We just came through one of the most special seasons of the year. So many people love these weeks of holidays despite added stresses and responsibilities. Truly, it’s a treasured time each year: Fall Celebrations, Thanksgiving, Christmas – and now New Year’s Day has come. A favorite theme during Christmas from the carol – “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen” is the phrase – “comfort and joy.” If you’re like me and millions of others, you’d welcome some comfort and joy – in your life and around the world.

Comfort And Joy

Comfort and Joy has been on my radar all year. The Lord led my heart to use it as a theme this past year. I’ve even memorized a few verses that focus on those ideas. And I’d like to share them with you.

First Verse

“I will turn their mourning into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” (Jer. 31:13)

This verse focuses on both comfort and joy. Interestingly, with increased brokenness in our world, this verse provides a word of hope. It has also helped me when there’s been life disappointment. What a fabulous promise to re-direct focus into a healthy perspective!

Second Verse

“You will increase my honor. You will comfort me once more.” (Ps. 72:21)

This short verse focuses on comfort. While it also mentions increasing honor (best represented by your pursuit of Christ-like character), God focuses on comfort in all of life – especially losses.

Third Verse

“Give joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.” (Ps. 86:4)

And this little jewel focuses specifically on joy. Incidentally, it directs your heart to continually trust God and practice courage. God wants to give you joy even in difficult times.

Motives That Nurture Comfort And Joy

If you look up 1 Cor. 10, you’ll notice it contains some excellent directives that drill down to the roots under comfort and joy. Here’s a brief summary from that chapter:

  1. Not all things are helpful (though they may be lawful).
  2. Not all things build up (though they may be lawful).
  3. Do not seek your own good, but rather what is good for others. We’ll explore this in more detail.

 

These are practical and dependable directives to keep personal choices aligned with God’s Word. And by God’s Word, I intend to say both His Written Word and His Living Word. Subsequently, I’m also saying we must make all of life align with Scripture and with Jesus Christ.

So both the Written Word and the Living Word instruct us to follow the above three directives if we want to live in comfort and joy.

But now lets dig into each of the three directives just mentioned.

1. Not All Things Are Helpful

So often, folks get caught up with their rights and their own, personal agenda. But this first directive clearly says – though they may be lawful (in other words – allowed) – not all things are helpful. This means giving up rights and agenda while laser-focusing on Jesus – and then on others.

Contemplating “not all things are helpful” – strongly suggests engaging only what is helpful. Consequently, we can conclude our energy should focus on helpful things – while simultaneously stepping away from unhelpful things. There are many unhelpful things – like: preferences, frustrations, anger, too much of any one thing, and so forth.

The recommendation is – it must be helpful – in your relationship with God and with others. And this basic motive inspires a healthier life.

Choosing to focus on things that are helpful is a direct connect to comfort and joy.

2. Not All Things Build Up

Similarly, Jesus says to focus on things that build up. Incidentally, this includes your focus on your own life, on others’ lives, your community, and even the world. Wherever you have influence, use it to build up.

Interestingly, this often means setting aside things currently popular and trending – that don’t particularly build up people, community, positive outlook, and hope. Incidentally, these things aren’t necessarily wrong – they may even be lawful (in other words – allowed). But if they don’t “build up,” Scripture tells us to avoid these things – to set them aside. Just say – “nope!”

The recommendation is – it must build up – in your relationship with God and with others.. And this basic motive inspires a healthier life.

Choosing to focus on things that build up and not tear down is a direct connect to comfort and joy.

3. Don’t Seek Good For You – But Rather Good For Others

One big deception people fall into – it’s all about making your life more comfortable and happy. But that’s not what Scripture says. And Scripture is the source that does promise comfort and joy.

God’s Word simply states we are created by God – and for Him. And we are made to glorify Him by living in His original design. This is where you find your life purpose. You find things that are helpful. And you find things that build up. Furthermore, you seek good for others over yourself. All this nurtures comfort and joy.

Additionally, you become aware that Jesus needs to be your “first – most – best – and only” greatest passion.

This simple strategy means being:

  • Surrendered.
  • Aligned with God’s purposes.
  • Christ-like in character.
  • Resolved to care for His interests to glorify God – not self.
  • Thankful in everything.

 

The recommendation is – seek good for others over good for self. And this basic motive inspires a healthier life.

Choosing to focus on things that seek what’s best for others is a direct connect to comfort and joy.

Topsy-Turvy Times

What about comfort and joy in topsy-turvy times? Scripture teaches the last days will get really topsy-turvy. Upside-down. Out of whack. Just – plain weird. Problems will abound around the globe. Wars. Rumors of wars. Hunger. Fear. And people will pursue everything except God. Ultimately, times will be unpredictable, tentative, continually shifting.

Do these topsy-turvy times sound familiar? So the question is: how can you live with comfort and joy in these topsy-turvy times?

The Bible says end times will mount like child birth pains. And pains across the earth are definitely mounting – closer and closer together. So, this means we’re getting much nearer to Christ’s return.

Well, in topsy-turvy times, God should be your greatest desire. Otherwise, your life will have the “appearance of godliness . . . but deny its power.” (2 Tim. 3:5) And you’ll be off-balance. Topsy-turvy.

Interestingly, to get back into balance, come close to Jesus simply by faith. This sounds “goofy” to people who’ve never done it. But it’s the way to get back into comfort and joy.

“Come near to God (by faith), and He will come near to you.” (Jas. 4:8) Regain balance and effectiveness. Increase comfort and joy – even in topsy-turvy times. Have you discovered this secret?

A direct connect to comfort and joy is to keep your balance in topsy-turvy times.

But My Part Is Small

You may sometimes feel as I do. I’ve been given a small station of service in life. Yet, I want God to bless my life and influence for His purposes. So I ask Him to make me like Jesus (definitely an on-going process) and to make me useful in every good work. Incidentally, what is a “good work?” I’ve found these ideas helpful:

  • Pursuing righteousness, faith, hope, love, joy, and peace.
  • Praying for discernment to side-step silly quarrels.
  • Pursuing kindness, patience, and gentleness.
  • Alertness to needs and creative, practical ways to address them.
  • Encouraging and enabling others.

 

I suppose those are good works. Perhaps you have more to add to that list.

Pursue things that matter . . . even if you (like me) have a small station of service in life.

Comfort And Joy In Topsy-Turvy Times

How can a person live with comfort and joy in topsy-turvy times? One very practical way is to manage your words carefully. There are many more ways, but let’s focus on words as an example.

What Not To Say

Scripture says God knows words you will speak before they even get to your tongue. So –  

  • Don’t speak unhealthy words. Not all things are helpful.
  • Refrain from a quarrel if possible. Not all things build up.
  • Avoiding irreverent, irrelevant babble, which increases ungodliness rather than what is good.

 

What To Say

  • Give your best to God as a worker approved. (2 Tim. 2:15) My Bible footnote says – “approved after being tested.” So let your words be a proof of your salvation. Pass the test.
  • Speak only what pleases God. Jn. 8:28b shows even Jesus did this. ” . . . [I] speak [only] what the Father has taught Me.”
  • If you proclaim Jesus is your Lord – depart from wickedness, sin, preference, and agenda. This includes words.

 

Application Thoughts And Questions

  1. Do you need comfort and joy?
  2. Have you examined your motives?
  3. Do you focus on what is helpful, what builds up, and what brings good?
  4. Have you struggled in topsy-turvy times?
  5. Do you make your words proof of your salvation?

 

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Visit our website for resources to get into God’s Word and live an Alive and Active Life.

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