The world around us is so angry and bitter, isn’t it? How do WE, as Christians, keep our peace and joy in such an unhappy world? Let’s discuss it today: how to be peaceful and joyful in an angry, unhappy world!
How to Be Peaceful and Joyful in An Angry, Unhappy World
First we need to understand what true peace and joy are and in order to understand it, we must go to the Bible, the source of wisdom for living a godly life.
2 Timothy 3:12 tells us that anyone wishing to live a godly life WILL BE persecuted. This stuff shouldn’t surprise us. When we see bad things happening, it’s not new, it’s not modern as some would have you believe, it’s been around since the beginning of man. Do you remember that Cain killed Abel? He was angry, jealous of his brother, so he killed him.
The world has been angry for a long time. It’s not new.
Opposite to that is peace and joy.
How do we get peace?
We get peace by living rightly with God
We get peace by living rightly with God. (Hebrews 10:22; Titus 3:5) When our consciences are clean, when we are not being rebellious to anything God is asking us to do, when we are in full submission and obedience to Him, seeking Him out in a desire to obey Him, when we are walking in the Spirit, we are living rightly with God.
It’s a tall order, isn’t it?
It is. But that’s why few have peace!!!!!!!!!!!
Think about it in your own life….
- Is your conscience clean before Him? Have you sinned about something yesterday, this morning, last week, last year, you know is wrong and haven’t repented of yet? James 4:17
One thing I like to do, as often as I think about it, is to ask God to clear my sins that I’ve committed, but also to take it a step further and ask Him to clear any sins I don’t KNOW I’ve committed (Psalm 19:12).
Because I tell you the truth, we sin a lot every day as humans, but we sin MORE by the sins we do not even know we commit than the ones we do know about!!!
- Are you being rebellious or stubborn to not do something God has called you to do? Are you having FULL FAITH that He will accomplish what He’s promised you (blessings) if you would obey Him?
Sometimes, we can be rebellious and not even know it. Maybe you’ll not like His answer and so you run away from it, like Jonah, thinking it’ll just go away on its own. Hint: it won’t. Or maybe you’re just fighting Him and not doing what He wants you to do. Perhaps you WANT to obey, but your flesh is telling you not to. Pray. Ask Him to help give you strength to fight your flesh!
- Are you are in full submission and obedience to Him, seeking Him out in a desire to obey Him?
The more we know of the Bible, the more we are judged for knowing. In our humanness this translates to not wanting to know the Bible. But as a Christian, we have a deep, DEEP HUNGER for the Word of God. We want to know Him more in order that we DO obey Him. Do you have that deep hunger for His Word (Matthew 5:6) and to obey Him?
- Are you walking in the Spirit?
Are you focused on Him and the spiritual world or are you focused on the physical world? When we are walking in the Spirit, we are focused on God and spiritual things not the things of the world.
There is temptation every single day to walk in the flesh, and we must fight it in order to please God (Romans 8:8).
If you’re new to walking in the Spirit, here’s what I personally did many years ago in order to really line my eyes up to God’s more. I would listen to this song over and over and over on repeat, all day every day, and make it the cry of my heart to God. I really, really, REALLY wanted to see things as HE sees them. As I would sing this song, I would make it a prayer to my heart. It’s still…to this day…one of the foundational songs of my Christian walk because it did help me start to see things from God’s perspective more and when we see from HIS angle, we are able to walk in the Spirit more freely.
This does not mean this song is to be worshipped. But it is using that song as a TOOL to worship. Does that make sense? Never worship the created, only the Creator.
After you watch that song, lemme ask you one question. What do you think GOD cares about most? God cares about US. He died on the cross for us. He cares about us so much more than we realize. Now, if HE cares about US the most, and we are to be like Jesus, what should WE care about? Right…others.
In Matthew 22:37-39 it says to love God first then others. We are to do this! Is being hostile, complaining, unhappy, negative people caring about others? Or seeing the world through our own little selfish lens?
We say…the world isn’t fair. God says, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” Matthew 10:34-36 and 2 Timothy 3:12. He didn’t come to bring peace between believers and unbelievers. We can’t have…listen…we can’t have peace with the world as a Christian. We are a light on a hill (Matthew 5:14), and we are salt (Matthew 5:13).
Salt is a preserver so the world doesn’t go dark/spoil too quickly. Think about your canned food. Why/how does it last so long? Because it has a TON of salt in it. Salt is a preservative. It makes your food not spoil quickly. We are here, to be salt to the earth in order that the world not spoil too quickly. Why? So that more can be saved. What does God care about? Us! Saving us!!!
We cannot love both the world and God (1 John 2:15-17). We CAN have peace in our souls, in our being, we can have peace with God which spills out of us always (Matthew 12:34), but we cannot have peace with the world. He came to bring us a sword so that we can fight the world. And if we want to be godly people, we MUST fight the world!!!
If you are doing those things, if you are walking rightly with God, you can have peace, even in the most strenuous of situations (Psalm 46).
How do we get joy?
Where does our joy, that LASTING happiness come from? I’m not talking about the little bits of joy you feel when you go shopping and buy something you want or when your child wins the baseball tournament. I’m talking about true, genuine, lasting joy. What is the source of joy?
The source of joy is God. He’s like a beacon calling for us. Like a lighthouse on a hill. The closer we are to Him, through His Word, through learning about Him (through His Word and through sermons), through our daily close, genuine, and deep relationship with Him, we become more joyful.
There is nothing that makes me more happy in this life than when I am sitting alone at the feet of Jesus drinking Living Water. Just me and Him and no one else. Not a single soul.
Because Jesus is the Source of joy! He is the ONLY source of true and lasting joy. A joy like no other! And that joy, that peace, that tranquility that I feel when I’m studying His Word alone, when I’m worshipping Him, when I’m creating printables meditating on Scripture, when I’m praying to Him, when I’m investing in His and my relationship, there is nothing else that CAN compare!!!
Listen, if you’re not happy, if you’re not joyful, put bluntly, you’re not close enough to the beacon.
You’re not close enough to the LIGHT. You’re not close enough to Jesus Christ. We MUST be a people that is so full of God that we CAN be witnesses (GOOD witnesses) to the dying world around us.
Nothing else, no ONE else, in your life, can make you happy like God can. Period.
Not your husband, not your kids, not your family, not the stuff you buy, not all the money in the world, nothing.
Yes, having family, having a husband, spending time with your kids are all GOOD things. I’m not knocking that at ALL. It should NEVER BEEEE knocked, but they, even in their most pleasurable moments, are nothing compared to the vastness and joy you will find in the Lord.
If you do not believe Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11), who was the richest man on earth, then believe me. I am not greater than the Bible in any way, but that I AM a real mom just like you that you know and can see an example of with your own eyes. I ,too, have had riches, and I’ve been homeless. I’ve been everywhere in between financially. I’ve had family, and I’ve been without family at certain points in my life. Whether good or bad, whether great riches or little bits, NOTHING can compare to GOD!!!! I agree with Solomon. And I have lived it.
So how can we change all this?
By removing the old and putting on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 6:6). This is a topic I plan to go into much, much deeper in the future because it’s SO vital to our walks with Christ, but it is the answer of how to stop sinning so much. It’s the answer that will give you FREEDOM! You must take off the old and put on the new.
This begins with setting our minds on things above.
We as humans are not able to just stop sinning out of the blue. If someone is addicted to alcohol they will find it extremely difficult to just, out of the blue, one day stop.
The best way to stop is to put off the old and put on the new. Let me explain.
When they are craving an alcoholic drink, instead of trying to not have a drink at all, the best thing to do is to replace that drink with something SOOOOOO DELICIOUS that it won’t be as HARD for them to NOT have that alcoholic drink.
For example, perhaps you know someone addicted to Strawberry Daiquiris. This was the preferred drink of my ex-husband and why I use this as an example. It is basically the only alcoholic drink I know of besides beer. I’m not well versed on alcohol nor do I want to be personally.
So, he used to like this particular drink. Okay, so why not have fresh strawberries in the fridge, and have 7-up, and even some Maraschino cherries, too? Or make a virgin Shirley Temple (my kids and I have these when we go to restaurants and they love them! They sell them at Albertsons, too.) Then, when craving a Strawberry Daiquiri, they could have a fresh strawberry 7-up drink. No alcohol. If you mimic it quite well, outside of the alcohol, it will be a lot EASIER for the person to give it up.
What I want to say real quick is that drinking is not wrong or sinful. Becoming DRUNK is wrong (Ephesians 5:18). Genuine believers can drink and it’s okay, so long as they are not getting drunk. I personally, have never drunk, and that is not wrong either. Neither is wrong, again, as long as it is not sin (getting drunk).
This God-given biblical strategy of putting off the old and putting on the new can work for ANYTHING!
You are putting off the old and putting on the new.
Then, as we set our hearts and minds more and more each day on the things above, rather than the flesh, we are able to live as godly people walking in the Spirit.
So what EXACTLY DOOOOO we put off? In Galatians 5:19-21 it tells us the deeds of the flesh (the things we are to put off) and then if you keep reading, Galatians 5:22-23 it tells us the things to put on (the fruits of the Spirit).
How do we put them on? Again it goes back to your mind. That’s where all sin BEGINS! Our minds and hearts. When we do not reject such thoughts, they can take root in our heart and also become actions.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
So, we must renew our mind in order to not walk fleshly. How do we renew our minds?
Philippians 4:8 tells us the antidote: “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.”
Replacing sinful thoughts with true thoughts!
For example, if you’re tempted to lie (come on…everyone is!) you put off the lie in your mind and you replace it with truth.
So, if you look in the mirror and think to yourself, “Wow, how ugly am I?! I just look terrible. I’m getting older. Look at these gray hairs. My goodness. I’m surprised my husband even still loves me.”
Take every thought captive. Okay, that’s a lie. Why?
Because God says you were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God created you to age. To have gray hairs. To LOOK exactly like you do!!!!!!!! Have you considered this????
Okay, have you considered God doesn’t make mistakes?
Replace the lie you said to yourself when you look in the mirror with the TRUE thoughts, the godly thoughts.
Again, this applies to every avenue of life. Put off the old and put on the new!!!