Possible Joy

Restoration of Joy PossibleIn the midst of trials and hardships we can still have joy — purposeful joy. While it may be difficult to imagine such joy when surrounded by so much turmoil, it is possible.

If we look at Bible verses about joy, we find some tips for attaining and keeping this joy in our hearts.

Cues from Bible Verses about How Joy is Possible

Raise your level of joy in the midst of whatever you face by doing the following:

1) Accept that there’s a bigger and better picture than what’s happening in the moment.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

fixing our eyes on Jesus … For the joy set before him he endured the cross … (Heb. 12:2)

2) Focus on God’s history of faithfulness to His people … and to you.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Ps. 126:3)

3) Bask in God’s presence.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Ps. 16:11)

4) Focus on the Lord and what He can do rather than your circumstances.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)

5) Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit to produce this joy in you. — That which might seem humanly impossible is possible with Him.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Gal. 5:22)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Rom. 14:17)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)

6) Pray that God would enable you to let go of that which is keeping you from His joy.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Ps. 51:12)

Purposeful Joy

What is purposeful joy? No, it’s not a term used in the Bible but I believe the concept is there, specifically in James 1:2-4.
Pure Joy - Purposeful Joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

How is Joy Purposeful?

First, notice how we are to “consider it” joy when faced with trials. That’s a purposeful choice to let joy reign in our lives, not our circumstances.

The Greek word for “consider” (hegeomai) literally means to lead or go before, to have rule or authority over something. That means we don’t let our circumstances control us or pull us down. Instead, we choose to rise above by gaining perspective. We deem, or think about, our circumstances as joy — not just a glimmer of joy but “pure” joy. A better rendition for “pure joy” would be “all joy” as the Greek word (pas) means all, individually and collectively — complete.

Second, notice the reason for considering it joy when faced with trials. Trials have a purposeful outcome which give us a reason to grab hold of joy in adverse circumstances.

By looking at the big picture, that of the character trials build within us, we’re able to gain the perspective we need to choose joy. Persevering in hardships not only produces mature character but also leads to a sense of contentment in which we’re “complete, not lacking anything”. If we allow our circumstances to rule us, rather than considering them pure joy, we won’t arrive at this outcome.

Third, notice the expectation of life to not always be easy, filled with only “feel good” moments. “WHEN” not “IF” trials come, we can be prepared by having a purposeful plan already in place to combat human tendencies.

Jesus told us to expect problems when He said, “In this world you will have trouble” (Jn. 16:33). God uses His Word to prepare us. If we’re Bible illiterate, it’s going to be difficult, in the midst of trials, to grab hold of the perspective we need to purposefully choose joy. However, when we’re familiar with verses like James 1:2-4, we will be more likely to head in the direction of joy over despair, to let joy reign in our lives rather than our circumstances. We will need purposeful joy because it won’t come naturally. In the next post we’ll look at other Bible verses that show how this kind of joy is possible!

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Bible Truths for Coming Alongside of One Another

Coming Alongside of One AnotherAs noted in the post, Can anybody be a lay counselor?, we’re all called to come alongside of one another. God’s Word provides truths for us to remember that will guide us in the process.

In addition to all the one another commands in the New Testament, we can also find many other applicable truths to apply when coming alongside of one another like the following.

Remember these Truths from the Bible When Coming Alongside of One Another

  • Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Prov. 15:22)

We are called to come along side of one another to help each other succeed in their ways, even more specifically to walk according to God’s ways. Let’s remember, however, that the ultimate counselor in a person’s life is the Spirit of God (Jn. 14:16, 26). While God will use us in one another’s lives, we should never presume to be the “fixer”, taking on a role not intended for us.

  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov. 9:10)

If we’re truly going to make a difference in people’s lives, we need to steer them toward God and His ways. Let’s remember the ultimate Source of wisdom, God Himself. While other sources, like the field of psychology, might offer some help, we need to run it all through the grid of Scripture.

  • And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thess. 5:14)

In coming alongside of one another, we must guard against using a one size fits all approach. What helped one person may not be the solution for the next. People encountering the same issue might need a different approach due to background, personality, level of spiritual growth, etc. We might even need to approach the same person one way one time and another the next. Let’s remember to meet people where they are.

  • Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Phil. 3:12)

Coming alongside of others can be discouraging if you lack realistic expectations. No one is perfect or will ever fully arrive. We are all a work in progress. We serve others with humility when we remember that about ourselves. We extend grace when we remember this truth about others.

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Training Category: Leadership Ministry

Perhaps you sense God calling you to be a leader. The kind of leader you will tend to be could grow out of the spiritual gifts He has given you and/or your personality. For more about finding your best fit, read: Ministry Profile Overview

Kind of Leadership Based on Spiritual Gifts

You will find three different spiritual gifts most frequently used by God in those He calls to be leaders in His Church. (Click on links to learn more about the gifts.)

People with the spiritual gift of leadership tend to be visionary leaders (goal-oriented).

People with the spiritual gift of administration tend to be administrative leaders (task-oriented).

People with the spiritual gift of pastor tend to be shepherding leaders (people-oriented).

Personality Can Affect the Kind of Leader You Are

To learn more about the different types of personalities mentioned below, go to: Ministry Profile: How Your Personality Fits

Biblical DISC Leadership ResportTo learn more about your own temperament, check out the resources at our PeopleKeys affiliate by clicking on the image.

  • If you have a more goal-oriented bent of the Choleric temperament (D of DISC), you could tend to be a visionary leader.
  • If you have the discipline and resourcefulness of the choleric (D of DISC) or the organized efficiency of the phlegmatic (S of DISC) or the attention to detail of the melancholic (C of DISC), you could tend to be an administrative leader.
  • If you have the people-oriented ways of the sanguine (I of DISC) or phlegmatic (S of DISC) temperaments, you could tend to be a shepherding leader.

God May Use You to Provide More Than One Type of Leadership

A person could have a combination of the typical leadership gifts hence suggesting that God could want him/her to be involved in leadership capacities that require a blend of two or even the three types of leadership.

A person could have a spiritual gift that takes him/her into one type of leadership and a personality that enables him/her to do another type of leadership, suggesting that God could want him/her to be involved in leadership capacities that require a blend of two or even three types of leadership.

God May Want You to Look to Others to Bring More Balance

If you don’t have a combination of spiritual gifts or personality that bring in the dynamic of each type of leadership, the ministry could lack balance. Think about doing one of the following:

  • Purposefully include each type of leader on the leadership team.
  • Consult with and/or delegate responsibilities to those who are gifted for areas you are not.

The Leadership Ministry Manual includes the content in this post and also looks at what happens when one of these types of leadership is missing.

Kinds of Leadership a Ministry Needs

Training Category: Leadership Ministry

Almost any kind of ministry needs direction and development.

Visionary leaders are best at providing this kind of leadership.

Almost any kind of ministry needs planning and coordination of the programs and procedures.

Administrative leaders are best at providing this kind of leadership.

Almost any kind of ministry needs someone responsible for making sure the needs of its staff and people are attended to and met.

Shepherding leaders are best at providing this kind of leadership.

The balance, health, and growth of each ministry requires all types of leadership working in unity.

Learn more: Leadership Ministry: Types of Leaders

In the next post we’ll ask, What Kind of Leader Are You?, with consideration given to spiritual gifting and personality most commonly found in these different types of leaders.

Leadership Ministry Manual

The Leadership Ministry Manual includes the content in this post plus other content in the Leadership Ministry Training section of the site.

Christian Counseling: Can anybody be a lay counselor?

Training Category: People Helping Ministry

In some regards, yes, any believer fulfilling the one another commands of Scripture not only can, but will be a counselor. Undoubtedly a significant portion of professional counseling could be eliminated if the church was committed to living out the ‘one another’ commands of Scripture.

. . . admonish one another . . . bear one another’s burdens . . . build up one another . . . care for one another . . . comfort one another . . . confess faults to one another . . . encourage one another . . . spur one another on

Surely, in this kind of dynamic atmosphere, healing and change would occur. People would find the church to be a safe place, among those who accept one another.

The intent of this post, however, is not to provide a dissertation on the pros and cons of professional counseling. Nor is the objective to provide in-depth coverage of clinical counseling or abnormal psychology. The intent is to help church leaders and workers to more effectively counsel in the normal course of ministry — pastoral, lay, or peer counselors.

Spiritual Gifts in a Lay Counselor

While we can can be involved in counseling others as we live out the one another commands of Scripture, there are those who are gifted to come alongside of people in a more concerted or intentional way. People with the gift of exhortation may find themselves in this role more than those without that gift.

Qualities in a Good Lay Counselor

warmth
genuineness
ability to empathize
ability to listen
confidentiality

People Helping Ministry Manual
(Click image to learn more about this resource.)

The People Helping Ministry Manual includes a section on counseling with this content as well as some input on each of the above qualities. Other topics in that section: