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 (NLT)
When I looked at my calendar page for Friday, October 5, I saw that it was World Smile Day. Awesome! Wouldn’t it be great if there really was a day in which everyone in the world found something to smile about? What if one person who was filled with joy, smiled and shared that joy with someone else, who smiled and shared that joy with someone else, and so on? What a difference it could make in our world.
In I Thessalonians, Paul writes that we should always be joyful. Not just when things are going our way, or when we are feeling happy, but always. How do we do that? How can we know joy even when we are in the middle of difficult circumstances? How can we find joy in times of sadness or pain? I have been watching a loved one face some difficult circumstances recently, and therefore, the answers to these questions are important to me right now.
If we want to find joy, we have to look for it. We have to look through the fog of our feelings into the beacon of light that is found in Jesus. Real joy is not a feeling, like happiness—it’s the knowledge that we belong to Jesus Christ. It’s the sense of peace and assurance, that no matter what obstacles are placed in our path, God is with us and will lead us through.
If we want to be filled with joy, we need to pray often. The more we talk to God, the stronger our relationship with Him becomes. The stronger our relationship is with our Creator, the more likely we are to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Joy grows in a heart filled with the Holy Spirit.
If we want our lives to be lived with joy, then thanksgiving should be a big part of our prayer life. Remembering to thank God daily, helps us to recognize that we are blessed, even when it doesn’t seem that way. Counting our blessings can be challenging sometimes, but I think that if we look hard enough, we can find always find something to be thankful for.
I believe that God wants us to live, everyday, as people of joy. Paul reminds us that it is God’s will for us, as followers of Christ, to be joyful always; to pray continuously; and to be thankful—whatever our life circumstances may be. So, let’s be joyful always and do our best to share that joy with those around us.
World Smile Day may officially be over for this year, but we can make it an everyday event—not just a once-a-year holiday. Smile! It might just be contagious.