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Choosing Joy

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ChoosingJoy

One of those most compelling and contagious aspects of a vibrant faith is joy.

Have you noticed how attractive it is when someone lives with genuine joy?  Maybe that’s why we’re told that “the Kingdom of God is…living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).


Guess where Satan loves to attack us... He’s a joy-stealer.
He wants us to be overcome by our circumstances or busyness and let joy seep out of our lives.  According to the Bible, joy isn't a by-product from other good things that happen, or a feeling that will come along as we follow the Lord. Instead, it is something we pursue and purpose to live within. Paul tells us to make a choice in this area, saying, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).

An example of choosing joy
Habakkuk lived during a tense national crisis around 600 BC. When the nation anticipated major losses, Habakkuk said this:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Savior”    –Habakkuk 3:17-18

What would your list look like?
"Though my bank account is nearing empty, though my friends don't understand or seem to support me, though my children are hurting or rebellious, though I feel so alone…" These are some of the things that make us feel anything but joyful. But what follows is a declaration of purpose, "I WILL rejoice," and "I WILL be joyful."

These are statements of willfully choosing God's path and way. Not easily done, for sure. Perhaps not done at all, by mere human effort. But…God is able. He gives us strength to do what seems impossible otherwise. He empowers us to choose joy.

Aren't you glad that we have a God who wants us to have joy, to walk in joy? In fact, He has joy, too. I’m praying this week that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

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