Don’t Let Your Joy Be Extinguished

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

One of the great challenges in any person’s life – Christian or not – is to try to stay upbeat when the circumstances of life are trying to beat you down. Many people (me included) know how to put on a good face when things do not feel so good inside. In my 14 year airline career, I would often fly on 747, an aircraft with about 400 plus seats. I enjoyed greeting people so I would frequently stand at what was called “the boarding door” where the passengers would board the aircraft. I’d put on a big smile and greet all 400 plus people on the way in and say good-bye and thank them for joining us on the way out. There were occasions were I did this twice in one day. Sometimes my face hurt from smiling so much. I think I built up pretty good facial “smile muscles” if there is such a thing.

Now I am just like anyone else. I have days where things go less than desirable – days that could even feel downright discouraging. But, I hated when that discouragement tried to control me and ruin my day. I did all that I could to turn those kinds of days around. I would have never been able to do that without the help of Gods’ Word and His Holy Spirit. There were a couple of powerful lessons the Holy Spirit taught me through the Word, that helped me stay on the victory side so that I could overcome the discouragement that would occasionally attempt to creep in.

First I learned that my mind is like a muscle. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind…” The picture painted here from the original Greek is to tighten your belt or exercise and get in shape. The Lord spoke to my heart early on in my Christian walk and said, “Tim, I am going to tell you something and I don’t ever want you to forget it. Your mind belongs to you – not the devil. You think that the random thoughts that go through your mind are beyond your ability to control. That is not true. Your mind belongs to you to think my thoughts and to glorify me.” Then the Lord brought me to 2 Cor. 10:4-5 to confirm this truth. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

Learning that I could have control over my thought-life and that I could cast out the thoughts that were contrary to God’s Word was one of the most powerful and life changing revelations I had ever experienced. I would definitely have to “gird up the loins of my mind.” I discovered that it wasn’t easy but it could be done with God’s help. It was like exercise in that it was work! But after months of discerning ungodly thoughts and casting them out, I started gaining absolute control of my mind. It was like I had a filter that instinctively sorted through thoughts that would come. Now my mind is “girded up.” The devil may try to steer my imagination to a wrong place, buy the Holy Spirit will help me get it right back to where it should be and promptly!

Secondly, the Lord helped me think upon today’s Fresh Manna verse and it also revolutionized my walk with God. It says, “Life itself was in Jesus, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:4-5) I didn’t like discouragement. I didn’t like feeling or looking downcast. I didn’t like thinking negative things. Obviously Jesus didn’t either. It says, “Life was in Him and this life gives light to everyone.”I wanted to be filled with His light-giving life. Jesus wasn’t the picture of despair. He was the picture of one who brought truth, love, hope, and encouragement to everyone. He was like a light in a dark place. The verse continues saying exactly that – “the light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

Those words become my words and foundational to my daily experience. Darkness can never extinguish it.” If I kept my heart full of God’s promises, hope, love, and encouragement, I would shine with light and darkness could never extinguish it. This would help me carry a real smile – not just put on a plastic face on a bad day. And the circumstances and negative things going on around me could not extinguish them or me. To the contrary, my light would help extinguish them.

This beats discouragement. This beats plastic smiles. This is the smile of God. Job knew this light, this smile, and this incredible power to influence people. He said in Job 29:24 “When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.” Negatives circumstances tried to prevail in his life. I guess he knew the secret of God that helped turn them around – that could not extinguish God’s light in His life.

Smiling was something required in my job. That was okay because smiling is something wonderful – it is a light that shines. When there is substance behind that smile, it becomes the “life that gives light to everyone.”

What revelation! My mind and thoughts were mine to be governed by God’s Word and promise – not by discouragement and circumstances. And as I carried God’s hope, promise, love and encouragement in my heart, I could be like Jesus – the one who “gives light to everyone.”

Put the light of Jesus behind your smile today!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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