We can live a life of joy even if we are suffering, even if we see this world crumbling, even if...you fill in the blank. We can do this because God is with us in the mess. We have not been abandoned in the valleys of this life, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Ps. 23:4, we can be joyful because we are not alone, and eternity awaits.
Our doubts do not change God's love for us. Even those closest to God have had moments of doubt, "O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me." Jer. 20:7 and "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted." Matt. 28:16-17 and "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" Ps. 13:1. Our doubts manifest because, in this world, we will have troubles, but we do not have to surrender to fear. Jesus has overcome this world, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Jn. 16:33.
Have you noticed this world is becoming angrier with each passing year? There are two things we can do to keep ourselves from participating in this downward spiral.
First, we must reduce our exposure to this world's negative stimulations to counteract our ever-increasing anger-producing input. We can do this by focusing on heaven instead of this world, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" Matt. 6:19-20.
Secondly, we need to stop focusing on the troubles of this world and instead focus on what God calls us to, which include the truth and the beauty of this world. He wants us to rejoice always, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8.
Jennie Allen tells us, "When we are spiraling in noise and distractedness, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through stillness. When we're spiraling in isolation, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through community. When we're spiraling in anxiety, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through trust in His good and sovereign purposes. When we're spiraling in cynicism, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through worship. When we're spiraling in self-importance, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through humility. When we're spiraling into victimhood, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through gratitude. When we're spiraling in complacency, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God through serving Him and others." We have a choice.
Everything that disturbs our peace gains control over us if we let it, and it is born first in our minds. We can change this by controlling what we think about, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Cor. 10:4-5.
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