Six ways to say yes to joy and peace. When we say “yes” to joy and peace, we say “no” to death and hostility. We are told in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (ESV). We are transformed when we allow the Holy Spirit to change our way of thinking. Perspective shifts, hostility ends, hope and joy replace those negative mindsets when we walk with Jesus and allow Him to transform us. If we think about our life in similarity to a butterfly, we can see this transformation. A lowly caterpillar, whose existence is bound to earth, eating leaves, and going nowhere, one day spins a cocoon and enters a season of darkness. It is during this dark period that transformation really happens. When the caterpillar finally breaks out of his chrysalis, he is no longer an earth-bound worm, but a beautiful butterfly with wings spread to fly!
We are transformed by Christ in that same way. Transformation happens best in seasons of change. When we are fully dependent upon Jesus, He can do His deepest work. During this season of shelter-in-place and Covid-19, time spent with Jesus will do the deepest work in our lives. Romans 8:5 — “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (ESV). And Philippians 4:8 says, “…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (NLT). These words, “set their minds,” or “fix your thoughts,” mean meditative, contemplative, intentional focus. We have six ways to say yes to joy and peace through a perspective transformation.
1) Read the Word/Journal
Dr. Alicia Britt Chole, in her book Anonymous says, “What grows through the slow and steady practice of meditation and memorization [of Scripture] is a truth anchor that holds even in the fiercest of storms.” We read the Word of God, and we journal our responses to that word, so that in trials and times of hostility, we are able to say “yes” to joy and peace.
Psalm 119:9-12, “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your Word, I have tried hard to find You — don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (NLT)
2 Timothy 3:16-17 — All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.” (NLT)
Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (NIV)
2) Yes to Prayer
Prayer is an essential aspect of the Christian faith. It is the way we communicate with God and He communicates with us. Prayer brings our requests and needs before Him, but it is also giving voice to the many ways in which He is praiseworthy. When we put our mind/focus on who He is in our lives, He is greater, and we become lesser.
Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (ESV)
James 5:16 states, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV)
Philippians 4:6-8 — “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 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.” (NLT)
3) Practice solitude
Lamentations 3:25-26, 28 states “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord…Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands.” (NLT)
Psalm 46:10 — “He says, ‘Be still and know that I Am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth.'” (NIV)
The New Testament tells us that Jesus often went to a solitary place to pray, to be with the Father. He even told His disciples the importance of solitude. We should follow Jesus in this example.
Mark 6:31-32 says, “And He said to them, ‘Come away by yortselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’…And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.”
4) Say Yes to Community
At The Journey, we give many opportunities for community. For it is within the context of community that we “sharpen” one another spiritually (Proverbs 27:17), we grow in our faith, and we have people who love us and will hold us accountable. We walk through pain and grief together. Further, we celebrate joyfully together.
Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (ESV)
Hebrews 10:24-25 — “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (NLT)
Romans 12:10 states, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (ESV)
Serving others is an essential component of the journey of faith. It is a way to honor those around you. Serving is an active part of faith that often requires creativity, but always requires love. Serving others takes our focus off our own situation for a moment and allows us a healthier perspective. Even during dark seasons in our own lives, we can serve others.
John 12:26 — “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” (NIV)
Galatians 5:13b states, :…use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (NLT)
Matthew 20:28 — “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)
6) Say Yes by Singing
American hymnwriter, William P. Merrill, stated, “There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is.” And Martin Luther once stated, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” There is something powerful about music that feeds our soul and draws us to the heart of God. Music is so important to God that the longest book in the Old Testament is the book of Psalms — all of which are songs. When we sing, joy and peace swell within our very souls.
Colossians 3:16 states, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual song to God with thankful hearts.” (NLT)
Psalm 105:1-2 — “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!” (ESV)
Psalm 95:1-2 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” (ESV)