I spent years doing life my own way, not really following God. At the time I thought it would make me happy to do everything I wanted to do. But the fact is I was miserable.
You see, if we’re not following God’s plan for our life, we’re never going to feel peace or joy on the inside. You may have some fun, but I’ve learned that having fun and having joy are two different things―and I would much rather have joy in my soul.
Fun is based on what you’re doing in the moment. For example, you can go to the mall with your credit card, spend a bunch of money, and enjoy doing it. But when you get back home, the fun is over and you’re facing a bill that could take your joy away.
See, the enemy will tempt us to have a little fun, but after we do the very thing he tempted us to do, he’ll condemn us for doing it!
When we’re having “fun” by doing something that isn’t part of God’s plan for us, it’s expensive—in one way or another. But the joy of the Lord is free!
Real joy that fills you with God’s peace and strengthens your soul is based on your relationship with Jesus Christ. When we do what His Word tells us to do, then we experience fulfillment and satisfaction that only comes from being close to Him.
Finding Your Pathway to Joy
Romans 8:1-2 says, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
If we want to have and enjoy the freedom that Jesus died to give us, then we need to learn how to follow the Spirit of God.
You can tell if you’re following the flesh (human nature without God) instead of the Spirit if you have no peace and you’re struggling. If you’re thinking about doing something and you aren’t peaceful about it, don’t do it.
For example, you may have a deep desire to get married. But if you’re in a relationship that isn’t right and you’re trying to convince yourself you need to get married anyway because this could be your only chance, all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a life of misery.
Here’s the thing: If your mind is troubled and you have that uneasy feeling that says, “I’m not so sure about this,” then don’t do it!
Very often we try to talk ourselves into something we don’t have any peace about in the first place. In the example above, the reasoning would go something like this: “Well, I can’t think of anything wrong with him. He loves Jesus. He’s got a good job. He’s handsome. He’s nice to me.” But no matter how nice he is, if you don’t have peace about getting married, you’re better off being by yourself.
This same principle is true whatever your situation may be, whether it’s about accepting a job offer, choosing a church, deciding where to live, establishing healthy boundaries in relationships…and the list could go on. In every area of your life, always make it your goal to follow the wisdom and peace of God.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
Life can be so fast-paced, and it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry. Sometimes we need to slow down so we can discern between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit.
So, what should you do when you realize that you’ve made a mistake?
First of all, you don’t ever have to be ashamed to back out of doing something you thought God was leading you to do once you realize He’s not. You can simply say, “I’ve made a mistake,” and move on.
We all make mistakes at times and that’s okay. Actually, it’s one of the ways we learn how to hear God’s voice in our hearts. Sometimes you will need to step out and try something to find out whether or not it’s really God leading you.
Life in Christ is so amazing because it brings us real peace and joy, not guilt and condemnation. In Him, we are free from sin and can have abundant life (John 10:10) . We just have to follow His lead!
Joyce Meyer Ministries, joycemeyer.org