Choose Joy – Day 19

I enjoy a good graphic t-shirt. Ones that have fun messages like, “This Mama runs on Coffee, Amazon Prime and Jesus,” “Quiddich is my favorite sport” (points if you know the reference!), or “Thankful,” etc. There is really nothing that you can’t put on a t-shirt it seems. How fun! I saw a line recently of ones that start with “Choose”- for example “Choose Hope,” “Choose Courage,” or “Choose Joy.”

It is a choice! He wants us to choose to live more like Him. In the Word, these are ways people will know we are Christ followers. Galatians 5:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Sometimes I’m quite frustrated with myself, if I’m honest, and as much as I want to “Choose Joy,” I’m not always feeling it. The dishes, laundry, reports that need to be written, emails returned – the list goes on and on – give me a feeling of much less than joy. Add in a whining child and the stress of undone tasks, and I’m on the train to feeling in the doldrums.

But I believe we as believers are not meant to be downtrodden people. For we know the hope and we know we have a future (Jeremiah 29:11). I think I may even limit my testimony when I do not show joy. I end up looking like the rest of the world…under the weight of life’s pressures instead of filled with the Lord and living in light of eternity.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t believe this means we can never have a bad day. But how do we approach each day? How do we greet those we encounter, even when we feel sad, weighed down, worried or stressed? Are we able to continue to look to the Holy Spirit to fill us and work through us even in those moments?

Because when in the midst of trials we can meet the need of someone who does not believe, how much more does that speak to them of the hope that lives within us? When we CHOOSE joy above choosing bitterness, anger, frustration or apathy even, we show the world His light, His power, His strength. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).

Philemon 1:7 reminds us that as we share the joy He overflows in our heart with those around us, we can bring refreshment to this weary world. “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”

Prayer: Lord, I pray that I would reflect you more in all I do. Today I come asking you to fill me with your spirit that you would overflow from me the fruits of the spirit. Work in me that joy may flow freely; that I may be able to show the world the hope that lives inside me, and that I may share in others joy freely, not looking to the left or right, but looking directly to you, the source of my strength each day. Thank you for loving me and giving me everlasting joy. I love you, Lord.
– Laura Enslen