Staying Focus: Having Joy in Spite Of


I feel like I’ve learned so many little lessons from not only this Joy study itself, but the many different things in my life during this time.  It’s amazing to experience God’s peace and joy, even in the midst of things that would seem negative, things that normally would rob one of joy or happiness or peace.

This week, we’ve been learning how to practice having joy in spite of difficult or less than desirable circumstances.  This journey over the past few months has truly grown me and stretched me, to where I’m not even the same person I was a few months ago.  I’ve heard so many messages now on what God was pressing on my heart – Staying Focus – and so many gifts of wisdom from people in my life on how to respond in better, more Christ-like ways to attacks and accusations.

I don’t retaliate anymore when I’m tempted to.  I don’t try to fight back in ways that only make matters worse.  I don’t give in to feeling ashamed when Satan uses people to bring up my past failures, things I’ve already apologized for and reconciled with them about.  I know God’s used my past failures to help me learn how to respond better in my life, and that I’m fully covered in His grace.  There is no more condemnation for my past failings.  And I know how to spot Satan’s attempts at stealing my joy – they don’t even work anymore – when he tries to condemn me for things I’ve already been forgiven for.  I know I’m covered in God’s grace, and feel no condemnation!  I still have joy 🙂

Now I actually celebrate and am actually a little excited to see insults and slander, not because of it or the pain it does cause me, but because I have the renewed chance to respond the right way this time.  To do things right.  Even last night, I decided to pray for someone that was obviously acting without self-control… again, and trying to cause harm by what she thought was a good plan at retaliation at feeling wronged.  It was exciting for me to know and decide right then at that moment, that I would not retaliate, and that I would pass that test God was giving me to learn how to deal better with sinful people.

I decided not to retaliate with insults or accusations of her past wrongs, or attacks like the last time I failed this test.  I decided I was going to forgive her, again, pray for her, and thank God for what she was doing and saying.  Sometimes we have to forgive people multiple times because they keep allowing Satan to use them.  But my reaction last night, is a far cry from what I would have done just a few months ago.  And that’s amazing!

It’s something to celebrate!  So I’m celebrating this week, for doing something I never would have been able to do with such grace this time last year.  I’m celebrating for the progress and maturity this means for me.  I’m celebrating because in passing this test, I’ll be able to move to the next level with God and be ready for whatever He has for me there.

So be encouraged readers!!  Have joy – joy in spite of.


  1. Getting even is always tempting, but gets the opposite results expected. Romans 12 says alot about vengence.

    Excellent post on having and keeping our joy.

  2. HMN – Yes, or even trying to defend yourself is so tempting – defend why you did something they took offense to, or try to help them understand that something wasn’t even about them, or that they’re blowing it out of proportion. It’s very tempting to explain yourself, defend yourself, but I’ve only found that to be mostly the wrong response, and something that falls under “retaliation.” It’s actually perpetuating the drama, and I’ve decided to say “no” to further drama in my life 🙂 I used to always try to do this though, even recently, and having it only make things worse. I realized it was actually not a godly response (and only took me off focus of what God wanted me to focus on), because it’s not trusting God to deal with the insults, lies about you, slander you receive. I was trying to retaliate by controlling the situation (or trying to control it by explaining myself or trying to help clear up the matter, or call someone out on their lies about me). God doesn’t want His children quarreling like that.

    It’s interesting how Jesus was called all kinds of names – called a drunkard, a glutton, accused of having a demon in Him or being insane, but He actually never retaliated or defended Himself against all these things. He was even lied about, but He didn’t publically or even privately try to set the record straight against any of those accusations.

    We are most like Christ when we choose to ignore insults and slander, and overlook these things even though it’s almost impossible. I’m amazed at how much I’ve been learning these past few months in how to respond to this kind of thing, it’s been an incredible journey of spiritual growth.

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