Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Choose Joy"

"....the joy of the Lord is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

God has given us a free will to choose how we want to live life.  If you want to live it as a Scrooge, a "sourpuss", disagreeable, complaining, always agitated and aggravated, just down right mean and nasty, then He will let you choose that.  But that isn't His will for your life.  His will is that you have abundant life. 

Abundant life includes a life of joy.  It isn't a life of happiness as some believe.  Happiness is based on what is happening around you.  If things are going well, if everybody likes you, if there are no problems, if you have everything you want, then you are happy.  But when things go wrong, when your world falls apart, when people come against you, when others forsake you, when you are lacking, in need and in want, then you are unhappy.  Happiness is based on the "physical" surroundings. 

Joy on the other hand, is rooted in the "spirit".  It is not governed by what is happening around you.  It is the very nature and character of God.  It is constant.  It remains during the bad times, hardships, times of want and need, when your world looks like it is ending.  Joy is not a "fair weather friend".  It won't abandon you when you are going through difficulties-- unlike happiness which will.  Does that mean you won't experience some pain, or grief, or frustration, or confusion when things are going badly? No, but joy, again unlike happiness, won't let the situation destroy you.      

Do you have the Lord's joy in your life?  You can.  It is a gift.  (Everything we receive from the Lord is a gift-- it is unmerited and unearned.)  It is part of the "abundant life package" that God wants you to have.  But, as with any gift, you are not obligated to receive it.  You choose to receive it or not.  God is not going to force it upon you.  He could, but He won't because of who He is.  He is love.  Love never forces itself, it allows you the right and freedom to choose. 

What is your choice for life?  To be a sad, mean person, complaining and full of self-pity when things go wrong?  Or will you choose to live in God's gift of abundant life and enjoy His sustaining strength that comes through joy even when things are at their worst?

Have a great day.  You have the free will to choose how you want to spend your life.    

For further reading:
John 10:10
Galatians 5:22
1 John 4:8

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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