This last week has been a tough time for me personally. The reason is largely down to the burden of being a pastor – caring about people, carrying their cares and devastated by the thought of some shipwrecking their faith. I wouldn’t say I’ve been depressed (I know many people who have been clinically depressed and my experience has been nothing like as a tough as theirs) but I have been feeling the strain. It all came to a head yesterday when I recognised that if I was to experience the joy that I know is rightfully mine in Christ, I was going to have to fight for it.
So I started fighting.
What followed was an avalanche of thoughts, truths and gospel nuggets that lifted my spirit and put a spring back in my step. If you follow me on Twitter you will no doubt have been bombarded by them yesterday. If not, I’ve included them below.
If you’re battling for joy right now, I hope they help.
May the God of all joy encourage your hearts!
Feel totally battered, bamboozled + overwhelmed right now, but I refuse to be defeated or destroyed. #ichoosejoy
#ichoosejoy because despite what my circumstances tell me, my God is with me and He is for me.
#ichoosejoy because despite what my emotions tell me, I know that God loves me unconditionally forever. The cross proves this!!
#ichoosejoy because the blood of Christ has covered all my sin, all my chains have been broken, my past is dealt with + my future is secure!
#ichoosejoy because I was once dead but now I’m alive. The empty grave of Jesus confirms this!
#ichoosejoy because I have been commissioned by the King of kings to be part of His divine salvation master plan for the world. That’s epic!
#ichoosejoy because to suffer with Christ is infinitely better than to prosper without Him!
#ichoosejoy because this sick + sin-scarred world is not my home, my citizenship is in heaven!
#ichoosejoy because I know that God is in control, He alone knows what’s best and He only ever does what is good, right and just.
#ichoosejoy because this light momentary affliction is preparing for me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison! 2Cor4:17 #BANG!!
#ichoosejoy because the things that seek to distract me to despair are shallow + temporary, while the root of my joy is eternally deep!
#ichoosejoy because my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
#ichoosejoy because, by God’s grace, I can!
#ichoosejoy because my identity, security + acceptance are not based on my performance as a Christian, but on the finished work of Christ!
#ichoosejoy because though I’m rejected by men I will NEVER be forsaken by my God!!
#ichoosejoy because I have a Great High Priest who loves me, who sympathises with my weakness + who has more than enough grace to help me!
#ichoosejoy because my weakness is the perfect platform for God to put His power on display.