In preparation for this devotional, I researched the word Joy in the Bible. I found that Joy shows up 242 in the NIV version, and 68 of those references are in the New Testament. Joy and faith, hope, and love are significant parts of our faith. And, joy is even considered one of the fruits of the Spirit. We find those in Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV); “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” But what happens when negative thoughts drive the joy from our hearts?
Joy Robbing Negative Thoughts
As Christians, aren’t we suppose always to be joyful? Yes, but we are also human, and events can momentarily rob us of our joy. So, maybe the negative thoughts creep in after a job loss, a failed relationship, or an unwelcome medical diagnosis. Recently, I received news that I have degenerative disc disease. And, with the diagnosis came fear and doubts about my future. My husband reminded me that God was with me, but the negative thoughts still swirled in my mind. I love Jesus, and He is the source of my joy, so these thoughts discouraged me.
Since we just celebrated Easter and our savior’s rise from the tomb, I am thankful that He was fully human and fully God. So, He understands our frail flesh enough to love us even when the negative thoughts come along. Additionally, Christ does not want us to beat ourselves up. Instead, He wants us to turn to Him to find our joy again. To help myself and others, I put together seven meditations to focus on to help push away the negative thoughts from our minds. And, I hope you find them as beneficial as I did.
7 Meditations to Drive Away Negative Thoughts
- God knows my name. Isaiah 43:1 (NIV); “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” And He loves me even when I let the negative thoughts overtake my joy.
- God goes before me. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV); “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” No matter what my future holds, God is already there, waiting to help me.
- I can do all things through Christ. Philippians 4:13 (NIV); “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” God will strengthen me for whatever I need to face.
- Our present suffering pales in comparison to eternity. Romans 8:18 (NIV); “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” If we only fully understood the glory of our eternity with Christ, then we would never lose our joy.
- No weapon formed against us will prosper. Isaiah 54:17 (NIV); “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.” God protects us.
- I am a child of God. Romans 8:16 (NIV); “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Since I am His child, He does not condemn me for my negative thoughts. Instead, he offers me His love.
- The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. Ephesians 1:19-20 (NIV); “19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” And that power can put the joy back into my heart.
Sharing Your Negative Thoughts
Now, it’s your turn. What situations in your life are driving away your joy so that the negative thoughts take over? No need to feel discouraged. Instead, use these thoughts to focus back on the Lord. And before long, His joy will return to your heart.
O Lord, my God, be not far from me. O my God, hasten to help me, for varied thoughts and fears have risen up within me, afflicting my soul as they rob me of my joy. You are my hope and my only comfort. I will trust in you, confide in You, call on You from the depths of my heart, and wait patiently for Your consolation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.