Too often, we let our present circumstances define our mood and direct our emotions. Above, Paul is talking about new Christians finding joy in the Lord in amongst severe suffering. The new Christians imitated Jesus and did not let their anguish determine their mood but rather chose joy in suffering. The powerful message of the gospel filled them up and the Holy Spirit carried them through intense persecution.
Here in North America at this present time, we do not face intense persecution but never the less we can and do face intense suffering. Misery from illness, finances, loss of a loved one, divorce, intense physical and or sexual abuse and so on, can cause us to lose joy. We have to choose joy in suffering and not allow our present circumstances to steal away the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Please turn my suffering into joy and do not allow my outward circumstances determine my mood but empower this joy by Your Holy Spirit. Allow the joy of the Lord to spread to all who cross my path and help me to be a better example of spiritual joy to those around me. In Jesus' name, amen.
James 1:2-3 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.