I was singing one of my silly little made-up songs to the Lord in my usual totally out-of-tune manner as I went about my morning care of my special needs ministry dogs when all of a sudden I heard deep in my heart the words pouring out of my heart. Such a simple song. So few words. Such a powerful message. It was as though the Holy Spirit of God had placed the words in my heart to give me a strong reminder – and a message for others also.
“I choose JOY,” I sang over and again. “I choose JOY.”
Now mind you I am in a season of extreme transition and change not to mention grieving so deep in my heart over several matters that I simply cannot express to even those closest to me exactly how broken and raw my heart is. This all coupled with decades of seemingly relentless challenges. Suffice it to say JOY should effectively be the farthest thing from my mind not to mention totally impossible to have and experience and express. But herein lies the message.
JOY IS A CHOICE. We can CHOOSE to obey God or not. No, you did not misread what you just read. That is right. JOY IS A CHOICE – and an ACT OF OBEDIENCE to God. See, God calls His followers to a life of JOY and REJOICING. But how can this possibly be given that all human beings have struggles and suffering to one degree or another and sometimes to very great degrees? Is not JOY an impossibility?
In truth, JOY is absolutely POSSIBLE no matter our circumstances – when we CHOOSE to BE JOYFUL. When we CHOOSE to REJOICE.
But how can we possibly have JOY in our times of great struggle? Here is how. WHEN WE TURN TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHEN WE LOOK TO GOD ALMIGHTY, WHEN WE LOOK TO THE BIBLE, WHEN WE FOCUS ON GOD AND HIS GOODNESS, ON HIS LOVE AND BLESSINGS, ON HIS FAITHFULNESS AND PROMISES, ON HIS MERCY AND FORGIVENESS, HIS KINDNESS AND GRACE, HIS PROVISION AND PROTECTION, ON HIS COMFORT AND HEALING, ON HIS WISDOM AND COUNSEL, ON HIS FELLOWSHIP AND FRIENDSHIP, ON HIS LORDSHIP AND POWER, ON HIS HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS, ON HIS CARE AND TENDERNESS, ON HIS PERFECT WONDROUS PLAN FOR THE FUTURE I.E. THE FOREVER REIGN OF JESUS AND HEAVEN FOR HIS FOLLOWERS, ETC., THEN WE CAN EXPERIENCE – AND EXPRESS – JOY EVEN IN THE HARDEST OF TIMES.
Most assuredly joy can be IMPOSSIBLE at times – WHEN WE LOOK TO THIS WORLD AND OUR CIRCUMSTANCES TO FIND IT. We may find ourselves on a JOY ROLLER-COASTER, having JOY then losing JOY up and down and down and up again based on what is happening in our lives. BUT WHEN WE LOOK TO JESUS AND FOCUS ON JESUS AND PUT OUR HOPE AND TRUST IN JESUS, OH YES, WE CAN HAVE JOY, JOY, JOY – AND REJOICE FOREVERMORE!
Hallelujah, CHOOSE JOY – today and forever and ever, IN JESUS, CHOOSE JOY and rejoice, rejoice, REJOICE forevermore, AMEN!
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NKJV
“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV
“This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24 NKJV