When we look back at 2020, our first response will probably not be that it was a year of joy! There have been terrible travesties from loved ones leaving here too soon, to economic collapse, to dreadful times of isolation due to forced quarantine. Depression in this nation has increased three-fold according to some accounts. Yet, we see an admonition by the Apostle Paul that has no expiration date:

4 Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! 5 Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. Philippians 4:4-5 (TPT)

Paul admonishes us here to be joyful in every season of life – why, because of the circumstances, NO! – Because we are united with the Anointed One! Until HE comes again, we are to rejoice and again I say rejoice! Joy does not depend upon circumstances, joy is a fixture that comes with salvation, if we allow it to operate in our lives. Our elder brother Jesus showed us how:

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)

If we keep our eyes on Jesus, as Jesus kept His eyes on the Father, our faith will kick in gear and grow more perfect every day. As that faith grows, so will our joy, as we understand the privilege our Lord has given us to serve Him in this life. We begin to understand that He is for us, in every situation we face, shaping things together for our good, even when it doesn’t look like it. As the old folks used to say, "He knows the end from the beginning" – so we can trust Him with the circumstances of our life. 

Jesus was able to see the "joy that awaited Him", before He went to the cross. If we let God He will give us glimpses of the glory that awaits us in our trials and tribulations. Maybe not the whole picture, but a glimpse that will propel us forward with a glad heart.Everything in life depends upon perspective. If we can see that we "get" the opportunity to be a vessel of honor for God, rather than just  "endure’ life’s twists and turns, it can take any negative situation and turn it to joy!

So always, and forever, let’s make a determination to allow joy to reside in our hearts, it’s a benefit of the salvation package!

Maria