THE BLOG

How to Improve Your Life by Rejoicing

spirituality Jan 07, 2023
 

It’s 2023! Happy New Year! Did you make a resolution? It’s OK if you did or didn’t. In either case, I want to take a quick moment to touch on an important mindset distinction we can make for 2023.

This distinction is the difference between resolution and resolve. The difference is very subtle, but important! A resolution is a decision to do or not to do something. A resolve is a firm determination to do something.

Catch that?

A decision can be iffy, easily changed, reversed, or given up. But when we resolve to do something, we are standing in firm determination. In other words, we’re standing with purpose, strength of mind, strength of character, and grit. We’re putting 100% in what we resolve to do. Determination is not easily shaken, changed, or reversed.

That leads me to this blog series on improving your life. For 2023 we can improve our lives by resolving changing our heart attitudes.

Heart attitudes are defined in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 –

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Christ Jesus for you.”

So, our heart attitudes are:

  1. Rejoice always.
  2. Pray without ceasing.
  3. In everything give thanks.

I believe that if we work on our heart attitudes, our lives will improve drastically. We’ll take the next few months to look at these attitudes and how they can improve our lives.

In this post, we’re starting with rejoicing.

What it Means to Rejoice

Rejoicing means to be joyful or to be delighted. That simple sentence makes me feel happy! Honestly, I felt a shift in myself while typing it and re-reading it. You try it. Did you feel a shift in you when you re-read it? Maybe a little lift in your mood, maybe your heartbeat quickened a bit, or a little smile came across your face.

There are a lot of things we can be joyful or delighted about. A shopping spree, a new job, an unexpected gift – all of these can make us feel joyful. For a little while. But the joyfulness doesn’t really last beyond the next challenge that comes along.

Notice that when Paul tells us to rejoice, he adds a word – “always”. This added word lets us know that we should be joyful and delighted at all times and without stopping. And if I read between the lines, we’re to be this way without getting a gift, going on a shopping spree, or anything else like that! Wow.

So, if our joy and delight is without these things, where is it to come from? Well, it’s simply to come from our hearts as we think about the goodness of God. And as we think about the good things He’s done for us.

And He’s done so many. Here’s a list of a few things God has done for us; what else can you add?

  • Being surrounded by God’s love.
  • God driving away your enemies.
  • Finding love with a committed partner.
  • Having children.
  • Having victory over a challenge.

To sum up, rejoicing means to be joyful and delighted in God, His goodness, and all He’s done for us.

 

The Importance of Rejoicing

So, what’s so great about rejoicing? Why is this an attitude of the heart that we should cultivate?

Rejoicing is important because of its effects.

Have you ever felt stressed? Holiday stress. Work or ministry stress. Family stress. Planning for 2023 stress. Whatever the cause, stress has a detrimental effect on us. Emotionally it can cause anxiety, depression, tension, and anger. Our concentration gets worse. We become forgetful, indecisive, apathetic, and hopeless. And it impacts our behavior through poor coping skills, insomnia, weight problems, and more!

None of that is good.

There are many ways we can manage and reduce our stress: exercise, eating well, sleeping well, and more.

But I want to say that one of the most important things we can do to counter the effects of stress is to rejoice!

When we rejoice, our brain, circulatory system, and automatic nervous system, are positively impacted. Rejoicing releases dopamine and serotonin – the feel-good hormones in our brains. This means that the act of rejoicing helps us to feel and believe that we’re happier.

Our emotions impact our heart, veins, blood vessels, blood, and lymphs (the circulatory system). They also affect our breathing, digestion, and other parts of our automatic nervous system. Rejoicing releases positive emotions that have a positive impact on these important systems in our body. We are holistic beings!

When we rejoice our stress hormones are reduced. We’ll recognize these affects emotionally, psychologically, and physically! We’ll experience a healthier lifestyle and immune system!

Now, let’s take a look at what happens spiritually when we rejoice.

The condition of our souls greatly benefits from rejoicing. When we rejoice we experience a sense of contentment and hope that goes beyond our circumstances. We also receive a peace that is beyond understanding of what our current situation might dictate. And it increases our faith in God!

It seems like I’ve written a lot less regarding the benefits our souls’ experience versus our physical bodies due to rejoicing. And that is true if you count the words. But I believe that the weight of the impact is much greater for our souls than our bodies. And this is OK!

The condition of our souls has a huge impact on our emotions and bodies. When our souls prosper – feel well, are whole, and strong – the positive impact on our emotions and bodies is tremendous. In fact, the improvement of our souls by rejoicing is the gateway to our bodies improving.

 

The Results of Rejoicing

Finally, let’s look at the results of rejoicing.

When we have joy and delight in the Lord, our lives are changed. How can this be?

Well, rejoicing changes our outlook on life. It’s easy to have a positive outlook when things are going well. But how often are we without a challenge? Rejoicing enables us to maintain a positive outlook in spite of whatever challenges are going on.

This doesn’t mean that we’re “faking it until we make it”. It doesn’t mean we deny the challenges in our lives. What it does mean is that we’re able to choose to feel and maintain a level of joy throughout all of our ups and downs.

Maintaining this joy is important. Without it, we are susceptible to spiraling into negative and depressive thoughts. Without joy, we’re more likely to believe catastrophic thoughts: there is no hope, everyone’s against us, or we’ll always be a failure.

Joy overrides all of that!

Rejoicing in God also increases our faith. There’s nothing like choosing to delight in God even when things are crazy around us. It helps us to believe that our circumstances won’t last forever. It helps us to believe that our lives can change. It helps us believe that where we are now is not where we have to remain.

So, resolve to rejoice this year and watch your life change! I’d love to hear from you in December and learn how rejoicing has impacted you. Click here to download a simple journal to capture the impacts of rejoicing in 2023.

In the next post, we’ll look at the heart attitude of prayer.

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