Thursday, August 9, 2007

Choosing Joy

A running theme in my life over the past year has been "Joy". And God, in His faithfulness has brought teaching after teaching, scripture after scripture, and circumstance after circumstance to help mold this area of my life. Today I was freshly encouraged by an article on Boundless called "Choose Joy". Here are a few of the paragraphs from that article. I would recommend the entire article though!

*I've always been a glass-is-half-full kind of person. And I consider myself to be pretty joyful. But my friend Dave was choosing to wear joy like he chose to wear a certain necktie. For him, choosing joy was an act of the will. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized his choosing joy wasn't about him — it wasn't a "crutch" to help him feel good through a lousy situation. He was choosing joy because he wanted to glorify Christ. Which made me think about the apostle Paul. There he was, in chains and jailed like a criminal — and yet full of joy. He could rejoice because he knew that what was happening to him helped to advance the Gospel. "Good for Paul. But what about me," you wonder. So did I. How can my car breaking down, for instance, advance the Gospel? What I've learned through my friend Dave and through my own walk with Christ is that my reaction to my car breaking down can indeed advance the Gospel. My witness to the mechanic may just cause him to scratch his head and inquire why I might have so much peace.
*I guess that's why experiencing true joy requires faith, not a cheerful situation. It's best expressed in people who have faced extreme hardship or struggle, yet who have decided to choose joy in the midst of it. These are the people who can say, "I don't know what tomorrow will hold, but today I will choose to rejoice in my salvation." Or even, "If tomorrow I lose everything, I will still have the joy of knowing God loves me." What faith. In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes about such decided faith that can lead to joy: Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way. Are you debating whether to take a step in faith in Jesus or to wait until you can see how to do the thing yourself? Obey Him with glad reckless joy.
*When I really looked at the Bible to see what it said about joy, the more I came to believe that joy is a decision of the will. Happiness may be something you feel. But joy is something you do. Throughout the Bible I saw action phrases like "shout for joy," "sing for joy" and "cry for joy."

God has been impressing on my heart more and more, that one of the greatest ways to display the light of the gospel in my life is to be a joyful person no matter what my circumstances are. It is humanly impossible to be joyful all the time on our own, but because of what Christ has done for us and knowing what we know, it is possible to glorify God by being a living example of choosing joy.

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
"But the righteous shall be glad;they shall exult before God;they shall be jubilant with joy!" - Psalm 68:3



kyle said...

I am always encouraged by your cheerfulness and joy Lana. It is a mark of good character that you never show your anger, and are always quick to think of others before yourself. Thanks for the Godly example and keep it up!

Candace said...

Hey Lana, great post! Choosing joy can definitely be a difficult thing. Thank you for you steadfast example of finding the Joy of the Lord as your strength.

Lana said...

Thanks for the encouragement guys. I can truly testify that it is all by God's grace that there are any evidences of Him working in my life. God has been good to place so many godly friends and examples in my life that encourage my walk with him. Thank you for living your lives faithfully for your Savior.

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