As we go into a new year we often make resolutions about things we are going to do or change in our lives so we can be ‘better’ in the coming year. This often involves giving things up or starting something new. Some even challenge themselves to have a ‘Dry January’ after over indulgence over the festive season. As part of starting something new many adopt a fitness regime or a diet as a way of clawing back some control over their bodies and general well-being after the Christmas eating and drinking. All these things are good and we all want to feel ‘well’ in ourselves or as if we have a purpose and goal for the year ahead. For may this will be a lifelong change as they form new habits but for others this can be a frustrating cycle of trying to be better and falling off the wagon only to start again and again (I speak from experience).
At the start of this New Year, God has been speaking to me about Joy. Instead of it being a time for me to lay something aside or put something down it’s a time to focus on the meaning of this word Joy and all that it means to me as a Christian. I am a visual person and my first thought was to look at the word Joy in many different formats and use it as a visual reminder for starting each day and get me thinking about the choice I am going to make to embrace Joy that day. I decided that I would use my social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as a platform to do this and my new *blog.
I looked up the definition of joy in the dictionary:
Full Definition of joy
- 1a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delightb : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
- 2: a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
- 3: a source or cause of delight
I also read a fantastic article by the pastor and author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ Rick Warren about Joy and his definition of Joy which resonated with me…
‘Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation’.
We often grow up with the assumption that joy is the result of our circumstances. However, living life as a Christian has taught me that we don’t have to be subject to a life full of maybes and possibilities that we might feel joy if things go our way and we don’t feel disappointed or let down with our ‘lot’. But, in fact we can choose to be happy. We can choose joy. The dictionary definition of joy illustrates that this may be the case. However, our joy is not dependent on success, good fortune or getting the things we most desire. Instead, our joy is an emotion that is induced by a faith in a God that loves us and certain and secure knowledge of our salvation and heavenly inheritance.
One of my favourite bits of scripture is the verse…
Neh 8:10 ‘The Joy of the Lord is my strength’.
This means to me that whatever my circumstances or the upheavals of my day or week I have the assurance of Gods ultimate good plans for my life. It is all in His hands and He knows what I need more than I do. Because of this I can put my trust in Him because He is a good, good father. Knowing this gives me a great joy that is never changing and unending because the character of God is never changing and He will always be good no what happens in my life. What response can I choose but JOY!
What are your circumstances or challenges today? No matter what they are you can choose many responses but I urge you to choose joy! If you are troubled or anxious about anything and not sure how to choose joy, ask God to supernaturally open your eyes to who He is and to give you a joy that is overflowing.
My prayer for you is this;
Rom 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.