How to Overcome Absolutely Anything. Part three: Joy no matter what... by Shayne Holesgrove
John 14:12, Jesus is speaking and He says “Truly, truly, I say unto you, he that believes on me, the works that I do, he shall do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
That’s a standard of victory that we should all be living in. Jesus said it, and so that means that it is possible. What are the works that Jesus did? Well, He healed the sick, turned water into wine, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers... we far too easily remember those things and forget that He also walked in complete forgiveness. Jesus said that we would be able to do what He did and do even greater works than He did.
We want to see miracles, signs and wonders on a continuous basis but we need to realize that there is more to victory than a comfortable and trouble free life! Philippians 4:4 shows us another kind of victory which we should be experiencing. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say rejoice!” He repeats it twice just to make a point. This is Paul writing from prison. I once heard a minister say that the prison Paul wrote from was in the middle of the sewerage works – and so Paul could have been standing waste deep in human dung… And what does he say? “Rejoice in the Lord always!” And you think you've got it bad! “And again, I say rejoice!” He is saying that victory over depression is possible! You don’t have to feel down because joy is not the result of our circumstances but the result of a person: Jesus! Rejoice in Him!
I love how if you read this Scripture to the end there are no conditions attached! It’s not written to those without a problem in the world, or to those who have all they need and have a comfortable life, or to those without a chemical imbalance. Now people have things like that and the good news is that you can overcome it! You can rejoice in the Lord always, regardless of your circumstances and situation! Joy has got nothing to do with your circumstances. Start changing your thinking and you can start to overcome it. Marna and I have both overcome depression. Marna was diagnosed with depression and on chronic mediation for it. We know that it’s a challenging place to be but with God she overcame it, and so did I!
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! Let your reasonableness be known to everyone for the Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything! (You can have victory of anxiety – anxiety should not have the upper hand over you!) But by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests me made known unto God. (Victory, peace and joy, is the result of relationship with God – prayer! Talk to God about your problems, talk to God about what you going through. Tell Him because He cares. But allow Him to talk back to you and to help you change focus, and you are going to see things change, as the scripture continues, “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” God’s peace is the result of enjoying relationship with Him.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, 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.” It doesn’t say to think about how bad you are doing financially. It doesn’t say think about how much you are in pain. It doesn’t say think about how you are struggling with the pain of a hurtful relationship – yes, those things are real and I am not discrediting them, but what I am saying is: don’t focus on them! Don’t allow them to dominate your life and take all your attention!
How do you deal with a problem? Well, you obviously have to figure what the problem is and everything about the problem. And after analyzing the problem and focusing on the problem and finding out all about the history of the problem, and becoming so familiar with the problem, that you need to educate yourself out of that, because you are stuck there, then find a solution for the problem or many solutions you can choose from. Or go for spiritual housecleaning. No, none of that!
These scriptures are saying to direct your focus and attention to “whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, anything of excellence, anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
As soon as you start hearing lies in your head find scriptures that counteract those lies and then quote the scripture, and meditate on those truths. No need to focus on the lie. Focus on the solution, not the problem. Peace is the result of where your focus is at. Where your mind goes your heart follows.
If you don’t like where your heart is at you need to change your thinking. Change the direction of where you are thinking and you will start to see change. The Living Bible says, reading from verse 10, “How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are helping me again. I know you have always been anxious to send what you could, but for a while you did not have the chance, not that I was ever in need. For I have learned to get along happily, whether I have much or whether I have little” (how many of you learn to get along happily whether you have much or whether you have little. Or do you get upset, angry and depressed when in lack praying that “I need more”? Sadly you’ll still have a "give me more" attitude when you have more - Learn to be content with what you’ve got.) God wants you to be blessed and prosper, but be content with where you are at while you’re grabbing hold of what God’s got for you. Don’t let your situation get you down.
We always say, don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Technically this is wrong, because your joy cannot be stolen, it can only be given away. You choose to give it away. The enemy cannot take it from you. You give it to him...“Hey satan, have my joy! I am going to be depressed and focus on what you are doing!” You can ask some believers, “So, what is God doing in your life?” and all that they can tell you is everything that the devil is doing, but they don’t know what God is doing in their life. They haven’t got a clue.
“I have learnt the secret of contentment in every situation” which is focus on God and be thankful. Don’t focus on the negative. “Whether it be a full stomach or hunger. Plenty or want.” Paul knew what he was talking about and he finishes off there by saying “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” We can overcome anything by choosing to have the right focus – by focusing on Jesus, and allowing His peace and joy to flood our hearts and minds. Remember that Jesus said that you are able to do what He did, and even greater works. And Jesus forgave those that nailed Him to a cross, while He was hanging there...