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Gratitude: Four Ways to Develop Joy 
By Rick Warren

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NLT) He doesn’t say you should be joyful only in good times. He says you should be full of joy always. But how can you do that?

The Bible teaches that—even when times are tough—you can be joyful if you follow these four simple strategies:

Thank God in all things. When you pray, do it with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is gratitude. It actually increases your immunities. It makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness.

People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied. It’s never good enough.

But if you cultivate an attitude of gratitude—of being thankful in every circumstance—your stress will lessen.

Don’t worry about anything. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing.

No one is born a worrier. Worry is a learned response. You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it from experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned.

How do you unlearn it? Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV).

In my culture, we might say it like this: Don’t open your umbrella until it starts raining. Or, in other words, live one day at a time.

Pray about everything. Instead of worrying, use your time to pray. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a lot less to worry about.

Is God interested in your car payments? Yes, he’s interested in every detail of your life. And because of that, you can take any problem to God that you face.

Think about the right things. If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life, you must change the way you think, because the way you think determines how you feel. And the way you feel determines how you act. The Bible teaches that, if you want to change your life, you need to change what you’re thinking about.

This involves a deliberate, conscious choice to think about the right things. You need to choose to think about positive things and focus on God’s Word.

What is the result of not worrying, praying about everything, giving thanks, and focusing on the right things?  

Paul says, “You will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NLT).

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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