There is so much joy to be had in life, but difficult circumstances have a way of throwing us into a tailspin and we end up losing sight of joy and our sense of wonder. According to Pastor Jamie Rasmussen, the way we react to the circumstances around us greatly affects the joy we experience.

Before we react to our circumstances or operate in the flesh, Pastor Rasmussen says it’s important to use biblical wisdom, perspective, and discernment. He refers to Philippians 4:8 as a helpful path to finding joy again.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

“Scripture says ‘Whatever is honorable…think about these things,’ sometimes it’s translated noble or dignified, it’s a Greek word axiótimos. When you drill down in its rich history, it’s describing a non-reactionary person.”

“Part of what God is saying is that we find joy in not reacting to everything around us, we find joy in a stable, more solid approach to the circumstances and issues around us. We’re more of an unmovable force when we learn to think that way.”

“How do we do that? Through self-control, through wisdom, and through steadfastness, one can start to develop a non-reactionary spirit.”

He shares a personal example of how he practices self-control when difficult circumstances come his way.

“I tend to not want to slow down before I respond; I tend to react to things around me in a fast-paced sort of way. My wife years ago said, ‘you need to count to five before you respond.’ The joke in our family is five seconds isn’t near long enough. So I count to 60, or sometimes it’s days before I respond. Self-control is something that we can do as followers of Jesus.”

As we practice these principles in our thought life and our daily actions, we will experience joy on a deeper level and be an example of Christ to those around us.

How joyful people think


Jamie Rasmussen, MDiv, is the senior pastor of Scottsdale Bible Church, appearing regularly on Outreach Magazine’s Top 100 list in both size and speed of growth for the past ten years. He is author of How Joyful People Think.

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