“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).
Jesus lived and died so that we can experience abundant life, a life exuding joy, and a life so full that others crave to know the source of that fullness. Jesus did not come so that we can merely survive life. Pagans can survive life. Jesus came to be our joy.
I came across this quote: “Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within.” Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for so many years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain, we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, joy is buried under a mountain of self.
Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Every trial or loss, every defeat or victory measured against this confidence can be counted as joy.
The Apostle Paul was a man of great joy. By human terms, he had every right to be angry and even bitter. Instead, he chose joy. Persecuted, imprisoned and facing His own death, Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-12, NIV).
The expression “Have a good day” is a common greeting. I heard about one woman who, when told to have a good day, responded, “Thanks, but I have other plans.” Sound familiar? We rise to face each day with a perspective of pending doom instead of the certain joy that is ours through Jesus Christ. God created the world one day at a time. At the end of each day, He examined His work and announced: “It is good!” We, too, can learn to see the good in each day. We can learn to choose joy.
James 1:2 (NIV) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
We cannot avoid pain but we can avoid joy. Our inward perspective does not have to reflect our outward circumstances. The pursuit of joy is a matter of choice.
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, a baseball cap on his head, ball and bat in hand. He was muttering, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung at it, and missed. “Strike one!” He picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, “I’m the greatest hitter ever!” He swung at the ball again. “Strike two!” He paused, examined his bat and ball and threw the ball into the air, missing a third time. He cried out, “Wow! I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”
A change in perspective can change our perspective of life. Yes, the pursuit of joy is a matter of choice and perspective. It is also a matter of obedience. As Christians, one of our spiritual priorities should be joy.
“One ship sails east.
One ship sails west.
Regardless of how the winds blow,
It is the set of the sail
And not the gale
That determines the way we go.”
Set your sails for joy! Celebrate! Revel in who God is, in what He has done, is doing and will do in your life when you choose joy.