Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are You Choosing Joy?

In an earlier post, I compared our hearts to teacups. If we so choose, our hearts can be receptacles for the Lord's joy. The key word here is "choose." When James admonished his brothers and sisters in Christ to "consider it pure joy" when they faced trials (1:2), he pointed out that it would require deliberate, purposeful action on their part.

In his book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, Francis Chan writes the following:

"We tend to think of joy as something that ebbs and flows depending on life's circumstances. But we don't just lose joy, as though one day we have it and the next it's gone, oh darn. Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for. Like the ability to run for an hour, it doesn't come automatically. It needs cultivation.

When life gets painful or won't go as we hoped, it's okay if a little of our joy seeps away. The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons of life.

A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn't depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God (James 1:2-4)."

There are countless numbers of people on our planet who are facing major trials right now. But, they are not countless to God. He sees each one of them. And He sees you. There are many people who are facing the ongoing effects of natural disasters: death, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, sickness and disease, just to name a few. In comparison, my trials are minor. Perhaps you can say that your trials are minor in comparison, as well. And maybe you cannot say that. But regardless, Jesus wants to be your joy. He wants you to find strength in His joy (Neh. 8:10). He wants to be your everything, your heart's desire.

Choose Jesus today. Choose His joy. And find your strength.

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