Got Joy?

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“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13–14

It may be hard to accept this news but joy is a personal choice. I’d much rather think the opposite – to claim that people and circumstances steal my joy. Or to think that joy is accidental and I’m not accident prone! I hate the idea that the reason I don’t have joy sometimes is because I’m simply not choosing it.

I don’t know how full your joy meter is registering right now, but I can tell you on the authority of God’s Word that if the reading is low or the arrow is on empty, you can find joy again in the person of Jesus Christ Himself. You can choose the joy found in following Jesus.

Sometimes people who have known the Lord for a while get bored. They think, “There’s gotta be something more, something better, something different.” Having Jesus in their life doesn’t seem as exciting as it was. And off they go in search of some kind of unbiblical extravagance to satisfy that itch. To that, the apostle Paul posts a big warning sign in Philippians 3:13-14:

(Forget) what lies behind and (strain) forward to what lies ahead… I press on!” Instead of longing for more or better or different, God calls us deeper and stronger. Philippians 3 continues, “hold true to what we have attained” (v.16).

Choosing joy every day involves holding fast to God. Keep depending on Christ. Do you still lean on Him as completely as when you first came to the Cross? Is every step with God one of dependence and faith? What uncertainty lies ahead? What obstacle are you being called to conquer right now? Do you want joy amidst those challenges? Say, “I can’t do it, Lord; only You can do it in me.”

What do you need to do today to regain lost joy? Stop trying so hard in your own strength to be what God wants you to be and move back into that dependent, Christ-centered approach to life. Remember that the same way you came to the Lord is also how you’ll grow in Christ (Colossians 2:6–7).

Want more joy? Get back on the track of desperate dependence on God and abiding faith.

James MacDonald

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