I believe that you can choose joy. Joy is defined as a feeling of pleasure or happiness. During these uncertain times of the pandemic, racial inequality, social unrest, economic uncertainty, and the list goes on it is important that we choose joy. It can be very easy to hide or fall into despair, anxiety, or depression. The circumstances of life will try to drown any reason to be happy. It is in those moments where we must hunker down and choose joy. As a believer in Christ Jesus, we know that joy is rooted in our confidence in Him alone. Why can we be so confident? I encourage you to keep reading! Let’s choose joy.
Joy = Confidence
I can choose to have joy because my confidence rests in the one who knows my past, present, and future. As a believer in Christ, I can trust that he is with me through every valley and mountain. One of my favorite scriptures says, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 So how does it equate to joy? I have joy in my heart because my life is in His hands.
The world is going crazy around us and there are times when I can feel my heart racing because of what I perceive to be uncertainty in my life. As I begin to take a deep breath I am reminded of Philippians 1:6 and my thoughts are centered on the wonderful promises of His word that this isn’t over!!!! Did you hear me? This is not the end. Life might look bleak. Situations, bills, stress, and anxiety might be surrounding your heart and mind but the best is yet to come. Joy is KNOWING that He is still writing your story. Allow Him to continue to make you more like Him every day. The more we act and think like our Heavenly Father, the more joy will fill our hearts. Why? We know that He is with us and will continue to be with us throughout eternity.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Joy = Gratitude
I am a firm believer that gratitude and joy are siblings. When we focus on the goodness, faithfulness, consistency, and love of the Lord it does something to the condition of our hearts. It causes our heart to fill with joy which produces peace and causes us to throw our worries and cares on Him. Why? We remember all the ways that he has made, the blessings that have overtaken us, and how we are ALIVE. It can be so easy to wallow in self-pity, comparison, and regret but we have been set free from all of those things which would hinder us from seeing our Heavenly Father as righteous and just.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68
Oftentimes our situations and circumstances can become bigger than our God. I have been there! It seems as if nothing is going right, you feel alone and you want to quit. Don’t quit! Spend time in His word and find scripture that will remind you of the goodness and faithfulness of God! Joy for the believer is a constant knowing that we serve a faithful God who is for us and not against us. Therefore, although our situations might be shaky He is a firm foundation that holds us still.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. Psalm 103:2-5
One of the greatest gifts that he has given us as believers is the gift of eternal life when we accept His son, Jesus into our hearts. That is a promise from our Heavenly Father that causes me to choose joy.
Joy = Perspective
Just like we have to ability to choose joy, we have to ability to choose how we view the world around us. Let me tell you….2020 has been an unforgettable year. There have been plenty of times where I have laid on my bed and thought this can’t get any worse and then I turn on the news to see more bad news. Immediately thoughts of cynicism, despair, fear, worry, and doubt will try to take up space in my heart. During those moments I must make a decision on how I will respond to those thoughts that rob me of joy. I have listed some practice things that have helped me to refocus my perspective.
Practical steps to change your perspective
- Monitor and limit the amount of news, commentary that you digest
- Listen to podcasts, music, scripture that will keep you looking towards the Father
- Choose one thing to be grateful for each day
In addition, I think it is important that we remember to frame our perspective through the lenses of eternity. Valley moments will cause us to think that we will be in there forever. I have felt like this is the end and that I have run out of options. Not true! We have been given eternal hope, a good future and as believers in Christ Jesus, we will spend eternity with Him. Take joy in knowing that there is more to believe in than what we can see!
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b – 6
Joy = Knowing the source
So who is the ultimate joy giver and how do we receive it? When Christ died on the cross for our sins He bridges the gap between mankind and the Father. When we accept Him into our hearts our sins are forgiven and we become part of His family. One of the many benefits of being a Christ-follower is that He gives us a joy that the world didn’t give and the world can take away. Excuse me….I remember hearing that phrase in church when I was younger but it is so true.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
Joy is embedded in our hearts. Joy is part of the kingdom that He established and in which we are citizens. Therefore, receive what He has given. Allow His joy to strengthen you when you feel like you are the end of your rope. Choose joy because you know that He is with you and His grace is enough to sustain you during the good and the bad times.
I want to encourage you to spend time with your source of joy. You will find that he has more than enough to provide and His heart is for you. Let us choose joy daily by walking confidently in the promises of God, filling our hearts with gratitude, and keeping an eternal perspective. In the words of For King and Country…”I choose joy”!