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Why Christians Remain Joyful in Tough Times

MsDora, former teacher and Christian counselor presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.

Why Christians Remain Joyful in Tough Times

Why Christians Remain Joyful in Tough Times

Author's Note: Originally addressed to women, this article includes principles which may benefit men.

What makes some women cry and complain about tough times while others sing their way through? How do we maintain our joy in the midst of life’s pressures? The answer is more than a list of dos and don’ts. It depends primarily on who we are—what we’re made of. Eleanor Roosevelt said it this way: “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”

The Christian aid for the life that remains positive, poised and peaceful under pressure is found in Galatians Chapter 5: 22, 23. The text lists effective, strengthening qualities which God’s Spirit produces in us, the believers. It is He who initiates and fortifies our joy when we surrender to Him our total being—our thoughts, attitudes, dreams, focus, and even our fight.

The ingredients of the Spirit’s power are often referred to as the Fruit of the Spirit—a singular fruit consisting of nine segments, with nutrients which overlap to form a synergy blend. Joy is one segment, and those who cherish it will experience its enhancement when they consume the entire fruit. See how that works in three main aspects of our lives.

The Fruit of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit

I. Disposition

The first three segments—love, joy and peace—show up in our disposition. They grow out of our relationship with God, and we nurture them through affirmations, meditation, prayer and practice. The woman who habitually exhibits a loving, joyful, peaceful mood is likely to smile her way through the tough times. It’s not that she is unaware of the problem, but that her stable mood feeds her confidence and her courage.

Love never gives up … and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:8). “Nor can rivers drown it” (Song of Solomon 8:7). Love motivates the woman to surmount life’s struggles, to perform with excellence in her roles as mother, nurturer, manager, helper, guide and companion.

“The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). “A cheerful [joyful] heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Joy is “especially important,” states Neuroscientist Rick Hanson, “when you’re facing challenges at any scale, from worries about your child to alarm about your world.”

Peace comes not from the absence of trouble but from the presence of God” (MacLaren). So the Christian is empowered by promises like the one Christ made in John 14:27: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Find a woman who cultivates a godly disposition rooted in positive emotions of love, joy and peace, and we will find a woman of strength and poise standing tall in the toughest of times. See a group of like-minded women supporting each other when the going gets rough, and we will see a happy, productive, resilient community.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

II. Interactions

We display the second triad of segments —patience, kindness, goodness—in our interactions. The peace-loving Christian woman is able to protect her joy in harmonious as well as hostile situations. Her dealings match her disposition, even when her problems are caused by others.

“We prove ourselves by our … patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love” (2 Corinthians 6:6). When an irresponsible child messes up the tenth time, and a mother practices patience; when an angry husband expects retaliation but receives kindness instead; the woman proves that she is focused on keeping her joy intact.

“Show others the goodness of God” (1 Peter 2:9). Do we show the goodness of God when we discriminate, when we humiliate or defraud other people? So, we choose to do good. When individuals evaluate our dealings with them, we want them to say, “That’s good,” or better still, “God is good.”

When our interactions with others become a reason for them to praise God, our joy multiplies.

III. Conduct

The final triad of segments—faithfulness, humility, self-control—display themselves in our general conduct. It is understandable if a woman loses her pleasant disposition and her willingness to be kind to others during and after tough challenges like severe illness, divorce, malicious accusations, bankruptcy, disaster, death of a loved one. But the woman who endures with her joy and praise intact becomes a symbol of graceful strength.

“Always act in the fear of the Lord, with faithfulness and an undivided heart” (2 Chronicles 19:9). We coordinate our Christian walk and talk through fidelity in our relationships, excellent performances in our duties, and accountability for resources entrusted to us. The practice of faithfulness to God and man feeds our sense of joy.

“With humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11;12). “Humility precedes honor” (15:33). “Show true humility to everyone” (Titus 3:2). For the Christian woman, that means respecting, listening to, and placing value on everyone including her subordinates, in the same way that she expects them to honor her. She makes them happy; they reciprocate and joy abounds.

“Prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control (1 Peter 1:13). In tough times, unmindful individuals allow the circumstances to control them. They overwork, overeat, overspend, overindulge in cheap thrills in their efforts to fill the void created by distress and loss. Then, they experience guilt instead of joy. It is different for Christians who maintain positive emotions, which according to Dr. Hanson, “steady the mind” and “can pull us out of…ordinary routines, stresses, disappointments, and frustrations…In a word, Joy.”

We end where we started with the disposition. Each segment is intricately linked. The entire fruit, resident within the believer and empowered by God's Spirit is the reason that we are able to maintain our joy, even in tough times.

Those who trust in the Lord will be joyful.

Those who trust in the Lord will be joyful.

Joyful Expressions

We focus on being, more than doing, but joy thrives on expression. Here are a few simple suggestions for maintaining joy in each of the three life aspects we discussed.

Disposition:
Sing along (and dance) with recorded praise music;
Read aloud some favorite psalms of gratitude to God;
Memorize and repeat affirmations of joy.

Interactions:
Tell joyful stories—about answered prayers, unexpected blessings etc.;
Celebrate friendships, milestones, victories;
Laugh long and loud at the Muppets, memories, mix-ups (which do not embarrass anyone).

General Conduct:
See and share the positive in situations around you;
Volunteer caregiving, mentoring, hospitality;
Be generous with happy, honest compliments.

References

Hanson, Ph. D.; Welcome Joy, Psychology Today, March 26, 2018

MacLaren's Expositions, Commentary on Galatians 5: 22,23, Bible Hub, Copyright 2004 - 2020 by Bible Hub

Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation.

© 2020 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 03, 2020:

Thanks, Mary. And when you make others happy, your joy will increase. You're on the right path.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2020:

I like what you said about our interaction with others as a source of joy for them. I wish to do just this, to bring joy to others.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 02, 2020:

Thanks, Manatita. I appreciate your affirmation. Sri Chinmoy's quotes always share a very positive perspective.

manatita44 from london on November 02, 2020:

A very well written and inspirational piece. Yes, that inner strength is so necessary and yes again, so many qualities or virtues are interwoven.

Your piece on Peace is really lovely and reminds me of Guruji's, which is richer, deeper but similar:

"Peace is not the absence of war,

Peace is the presence of love, harmony and oneness." - Sri Chinmoy

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 01, 2020:

Thanks, Bill. Happy for you that your computer is back up and running. I appreciate your kind comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 01, 2020:

Rajan, thanks for your input. "In all circumstances" may seem challenging for some, but its doable.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on November 01, 2020:

Hi, Dora. I've been away for a while. My computer was down, but I'm glad to be able to check in this morning and read this. Thanks for your timely, accurate, biblical thoughts. This was a "joy" to read.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 31, 2020:

Wonderful lessons in here for everyone. Implicit faith in the Almighty in all circumstances is very essential to true happiness.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

Ambrie, thanks for your affirmation. Great for to you to make it known that there is much joy in the Christian life.

Ambrie Anders on October 31, 2020:

Thanks for the great joyful expressions here.

My life has certainly been more joyful since I was saved. I didn’t know what I was missing!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

Devika, I'll repeat what you wrote, because it is that good as counsel for all of us: "We should pray for each other more and live happy. Avoid what would make us feel negative and grow into better persons." Thank you.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 31, 2020:

Dora I enjoy this time of year. However, with the times we have this year your hub came at the perfect time. Makes me think of fun and enjoyment. A time when ewe should pray for each other more and live happy. Avoid what would make us feel negative and grow into better persons.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

BODYLEVIVE, I appreciate you sharing your understanding and practice of joy. You affirm just how it important it is. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

Millicent, you encourage me with the idea that you learn from my articles. These are truths I also have learned and am willing to share. Let's stay focused. God is the ultimate teacher.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

Thanks, Demas. That attitude of contentment comes with the positive disposition built on love, peace and joy. Paul modeled it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

Thanks, Antonio, especially for your favorable thoughts about women. Your commentary on the additional verses are helpful too. "Against such things, there is no law" is an important consideration, perhaps another article in itself.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2020:

Tim, thanks for your invaluable contribution. I understand how hope of something better than we have can make and keep us joyful. I appreciate the additional facts.

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on October 31, 2020:

True Christians are joyful, no matter how tough times get because their main focus is on Christ, not on our circumstances or what's going on. By His death and resurrection Christ overcame sin and death and Satan—and therefore we have hope. The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him” (Psalm 64:10). I am a Christian and I have joy and peace in tough times. One thing for sure MsDora, what ever I go through, I take joy in knowing He is right there with me.

Millicent Okello from Nairobi, Kenya on October 31, 2020:

Hello Dorra.

It's always a pleasure to learn from your articles words of wisdom that encourage and mould me too. This one made me happy. That i should practice the fruits of the holy spirit of joy,patience ,love ,faithfulness, kindness. I also learn that

When an irresponsible child messes up the tenth time, and a mother practices patience; when an angry husband expects retaliation but receives kindness instead; the woman proves that she is focused on keeping her joy intact.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on October 30, 2020:

St. Paul had the key, and we can strive for it. He wrote, "I have learned to be content in all things."

Antonio50S on October 30, 2020:

Hello Dora.

( Galatians 5:22-23 ) Fruits of the Spirit.

You really done in now Dora picking that chapter :)

Been thinking about that Chapter all week now, then you go and write a Great Hub on it. Read them verses so many times over the years, but it's only now i am beginning to really appreciate what Paul was saying.

He was So Right when he said in Verse 23 "Against such things there is ( NO ) law"

We may struggle getting into the Kingdom of God while neglecting these Fruits and Qualities.

I was also reading up on ( Proverbs 14:29-30 ) "A patient man has great understanding" and "A heart at peace gives life to the body"

( Pulpit Commentary ) on Vs 30. "A sound heart is the life of the flesh. The heart that is healthy, morally and physically, spreads its beneficent influence over the whole body in all its functions and relations" Similar to what ( Galatians 5 ) is about.

Personally speaking MsDara, I think women already possess a number of these Qualities by nature. Its men who need to shape up. Jesus Chose his disciples, and what were they doing? They were arguing and fighting with each other over who is greater.

I read somewhere that the reason God created women was to Tame Man. There maybe some truth to that.

Tony.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on October 30, 2020:

Superb, Ms. Dora. Also, there are different denominations; some Christian churches still hold a "predestination" view. Others, like Holiness, certain Baptists, and other protestant denominations, teach its O.K. to be open with God. I was raised understanding Jesus Christ is a "friend" as opposed to a strong hard to please uncompromising tyrant.

The more "gentle" views about Christ, which developed during the slavery era according to some scholars, can be directly traced to African influences upon the Christian faith, when native beliefs had to be hidden. We still see this in nations like Brazil, where Afro influences has helped to spring a strong evangelical movement against drug gangs.

We remain joyful, Ms. Dora, because we are taught that our reward isn't here and there is something better on the other side. People of color usually have a deeper understanding of "wading in the water."

I can't recall how many gospel songs tend to say: "sing on!" or : "I had a praying mother." Thanks.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Thanks, Shauna. Yes, that Eleanor Roosevelt quote make you laugh, makes you think, helps you become the best you can be.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Linda, thanks for your kind words. Those daily prayers do feed our joy, especially when we count our blessings, like you do.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Rev. Margaret, I'm happy that you enjoyed the article. Sharing joy helps keeps us joyful.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Thanks, Peggy. True, joy helps us through all kinds of stresses. Your comment encourages me too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Thanks, Jeshrun. Sure, joy is given by the Holy Spirit. It would be great for us to nurture it as intentionally as we do throughout the holiday season.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Thanks, Bill. Your comment always mean much to me. Happy when you like what I write.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 30, 2020:

Dora, thank you for the reminder that we are strong and can get thru anything. I love Eleanor Roosevelt's analogy. What a wise and witty woman!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 30, 2020:

Lovely words just like you Miss Dora. You are the embodiment of the fruits of the Spirit. Thank you for this timely message. I pray daily for strength and guidance, and pray each evening with thanks and gladness for blessings. Each day is filled with them, even in sorrow.

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on October 30, 2020:

Thank you, Ms. Dora, for your detailed article. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the reminders to be joyful in tough times.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 30, 2020:

Your article is timed beautifully for these days with the pandemic raging worldwide, plus other stresses. Thank you, Dora, for sharing these words of wisdom and encouragement.

Jeshurun from Nellore AP India on October 30, 2020:

Dear Mam, Yes, You are inspired by Holy spirit, Joy is accorded by our redeemer Jesus Christ who showers Daily grace like supplying Manna for HIS PEOPLE in their jungle journey. His Joy is shared all over the world by word of God.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 30, 2020:

All very true, my friend. A great reminder about life, here, succinct and accurate for all, men and women. Thank you!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 30, 2020:

Than you too, Jodah. Tough times these days have to do with the pandemic plus other issues. We really need supernatural strength.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 30, 2020:

Yes MsDora, there are certainly lessons here for men as well as women. We need this message more than ever in these current times. Thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

Eric, I couldn't have said it better. "Christ just infuses with a daily dose of joy." I am grateful to Him for you, too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

Brenda, that's true. We come through the tough times because God's Spirit provides the strength. We should learn to trust Him.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 29, 2020:

This made me very grateful for my joy. Christ just infuses with a daily dose of joy. I thank him for you and your cherished message.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 29, 2020:

Ms. Dora,

This is a very good article.

When one goes through tough times he definitely feels better when he lets God take control.

It is easier at times to worry & natural to do things that make one feels like he is control.

But ultimately he isn't....God is.

I love your suggestions. Taking a walk in nature. Singing praises to the Lord.

Laughing...sometimes it is the best medicine.

Thanks for this wonderful write. I definitely needed to remind myself to relax and take it easier.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

True, Flourish. My favorite aunt sent me that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, and I often remember it. These are "hot water" days for many.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

KC, you're very kind. I appreciate you. Will continue trying to please my readers.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

Pam, thanks for sharing your experience, and affirming that your devotional exercises contribute to your happy disposition. Good habit!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

Cheryl, I appreciate your encouragement. My Christian Living articles are my favorite and I'm happy when other Christians like them.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

SchoolGirl, thanks for your input. Thanks for sharing your testimony: "I have BETTER coping skills NOW as a result of faith in Jesus." You were blessed to grow up with a faithful mother.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 29, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. These are surely some tough times and the message is applicable.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 29, 2020:

Given the difficult times we are facing, I'd say this article is particularly well-timed. I chuckled at the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. So true. Challenging times show what we're really made of.

KC McGee from Where I belong on October 29, 2020:

Outstanding MsDora.

Blessings

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 29, 2020:

I love this well-written article, Ms Dora. I identify with your words as I have been a jobful christian for quite a while. I wake up very early, before my husband. I read the Bible or listen to morning prayers on YouTube. I also listen to praise music softly in the backgroud when I read. I started reading the New Testament over again and I am in Hebrews now. I am so happy since I started following this way of life to start each day. Whether it is a painful day or not, I am still happy. Thanks for writing this very good article.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on October 29, 2020:

This is truly uplifting and inspirational. Thank you for another great article.

schoolgirlforreal on October 29, 2020:

This is wonderful! I identify with this, as since I accepted Jesus as my savior in 2009, my whole life improved dramatically, and I can see that even in the toughest times, I have BETTER coping skills NOW as a result of faith in Jesus.

For example, right now in Covid, many are very afraid, but the bible tell us, "For the Lord hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind" 2Tim 1:7

And many other quotes about not having fear.

For with God, there is nothing to fear. He has our backs, and protects us, like in Psalm 91, the psalm of protection: it tells us not to fear anything including plagues. It says God will protect us. And he does. that's not to say to be FOOLISH and not act wisely or safely.

But my mom is very spiritual, and every time there is a storm in her neighborhood, never has once a tree fallen on her house, though she has many.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 29, 2020:

This is an uplifting and encouraging article. It is well timed for the situation that we are all living through.