JOY… Have you ever looked at that word and just wondered what is it? Is it the appearance of happiness in ones life? Is it giddiness? Laughter? Smiling? What is it about that word that causes us to crave it so desperately? To see it in others when we ourselves don’t have it?
In James 1:2 (TPT)
My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!
Joy is a response. Joy is not something that we make up. Joy to me does not seem to happen by chance or be our natural human default. After all there are few times in my life when I have met or can claim that I have responded with joy immediately when things seem to be going in the dumps. Joy doesn’t mean that everything is fine and dandy.
Joy is a choice to respond to our circumstances knowing and trusting that God works in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
So many times I have talked and seen people beaten up by that statement… Joy is a choice.
If you really trust God, then choose joy. We see it on t-shirts and coffee mugs. I have seen and heard and even been that person that that said or thought, in not so many words, "it’s your fault you are miserable because you are not choosing joy." And I remember every one of those people I listened to saying that "that did not make them feel better." It did not make a light bulb go on in their head as if to say, "duh, why haven’t I done that before." Instead they left feeling more and more defeated. Feeling even more of a failure than before and thinking that they just must not be good enough.
You know what I realized? I was wrong.
Joy is a choice to respond. Yes. But, it is not in response to our circumstances. It’s not created by our sheer will or desire. It is our response to draw close to our Father.
Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.
1Chronicles 16:27(NIV) [emphasis added]
I use to believe that to choose joy you just needed to fake it till you make it. I would tell that to those around me. But I have come to realize that true joy, the kind of joy that shifts our circumstances and difficulties to invaluable opportunities to experience God’s presence can only be done by getting close to our Daddy.
So when people say that famous quote “choose joy”, they are only partly right. I was only partly right. Yes, joy is a choice, a choice to get closer to God than you were before. A choice to, despite how we feel and what is going on, to sit in His presence.
The funny thing is when we are going through hard times we often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling like we are weak and can’t overcome, but the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is my strength. When we choose to come into Abba’s presence we are filled with His joy which is our strength. Is is then that we can see our difficulties as opportunities to see God do what only He can do.
I love the passage that about the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
You don’t earn the fruit of the Spirit, but it is evidence of a relationship with our Perfect Daddy. The more time we spend with Him, the more we start to look like Him.
The more He can transform our minds. The more He can open our eyes to see, our ears to hear and give us hearts to understand how He is working all things for the good of those who love Him.
We don’t have to come to God faking it 'til we make it.
It says in Psalms 30:11-12
You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent, Lord my God, I will praise You forever.
God never asked us to just put a smile on and pretend like we don’t have difficulties. In fact, I believe that when we choose to come to Him right where we are at, in the good, the bad AND the ugly, it is a great gift that we can give to Him. No pretenses, no facade, just us and Him. It is an offering that that only we can give. That’s when He can show off the most.
Joy is not a choice that we make. Godly joy is a gift. A free gift. A gift that can only be received as a byproduct of spending time with our Father.
I want to do one last thing before I sign off today…
I want to apologize on behalf of any one who has ever said to you or made you feel that you are not enough. Anyone who has ever told you that joy is just a choice YOU have to make. I want to repent for those of us who have helped to keep you in the bondage of depression, anxiousness, and fear by our lack of understanding. I ask forgiveness for speaking lies over you and your situations. And I ask, Holy Spirit, that even through this writing, that You do what only You can do. Come and invade Holy Spirit. I invite you into the secret place with the Lord that His presence of strength and joy would fill you and overwhelm your circumstances so that you can see them as opportunities for Daddy to do great and wondrous things in your life.
Please don’t wait… He wants to see you… Yes, you. You are His beloved.
Written by: Alexandria Brown
For more from Alexandria, visit her website at www.alexandriabrown.org.
Head over to the Community and join the conversation!
The Pretty & Wise Collective features: