Anger and joy are not directly connected to circumstances. They are directly connected to your understanding of God’s faithfulness to you. Joy and anger are choices. Good or bad circumstances by themselves are not reason for joy or anger. If I think a circumstance is bad or unfair, I may become angry. But this is a choice I am making. I could just as easily choose to return good for evil instead of becoming angry. I could also choose to be joyful because I know that evil will not defeat God’s purposes and that I can trust him to bring good even from the worst circumstances.
Joy is part of the Holy Spirit’s fruit. That fruit is not connected to your circumstance, but to God’s faithfulness. It can never be taken from you. Joy is not the same thing as happy exhilaration. Joy is a sure comfort that flows from knowing that my sins are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Joy is a constant through the most difficult of circumstances.
Both joy and anger have great power.
Anger has the power to dominate everything around you. Anger excels at making enemies. Anger can cloud your judgement to the point where you see yourself as a victim. Anger breeds misery and discontent. Anger has a corrosive impact on relationships. It eats away at them. But remember, anger is a choice! You don’t have to go there.
Joy also has the power to dominate everything around you. The difference is that joy can encourage relationships. Joy can cause you to focus on gratitude. It can bring contentment and peace to you and those close to you. Since joy depends on God’s faithfulness, circumstances cannot rob you of joy, even in your tears.
Two paths are before you: anger or joy. One leads to bitterness, pain, despair and broken relationships. The other leads to a wholeness of your heart and healing of the hurts in life. Choose joy, choose life!
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.