Joy. I love that word. Those three little letters carry great meaning. When we think of joy we think of happiness, delight, elation and all those warm and wonderful feelings. We want to experience joy. Sometimes we confuse true joy with things that we enjoy. We enjoy happy times. We enjoy our successes. We enjoy our beautiful Christmas decorations. All of those things come and go. We think when we achieve this, or have that, or when that happens then we will experience joy. During difficult seasons, we look at our personal situation and we feel joyless. We want more. We want real joy, abundant joy, unspeakable joy. We want to be overjoyed! How can we put ourselves on a path to choosing joy? How can we choose joy that is constant, joy that is everlasting?
It seems so simple – but really it must not be. Otherwise, many more would choose it. Choosing joy takes a commitment. It requires surrender. Joy has nothing to do with what is happening in our life. Choosing joy means embracing what has been done for us. You see, Christmas is the season of joy. When we experience true joy it is inexplicable. So, where do we begin if we are ready to start choosing joy instead of chasing joy?
J – The J in Joy stands for Jesus. Do you know Him? Have you accepted Him as your Savior? Have you surrendered your life to Him? Have you taken time – invested time - to really get to know who He is? He is the anchor to true joy. Choosing Joy means choosing Jesus. Jesus is our salvation – our great hope. He is our soulmate, our best friend and the only one who will never let us down. He is our everything. He is our answer. He is enough. Yes, He is all we need – truly need. We are to seek Him first. (Matthew 6:33) We are to rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4) We can experience the fullness of joy when we obey His word and abide in His love. (John 15:9-11) If we are serious about choosing joy – then we must get serious about choosing Jesus.
“Jesus said to Him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.’” Matthew 22:37-38
O – The O in Joy stands for Others. We are to put Jesus first and others next. We are to love others as Jesus loves - unconditionally. (John 15:12) To abide in Christ’s love for us we are to obey His word. To obey His word means to love others. There are so many scriptures about loving others, but Colossians 3:12-17 says it all. We are to be compassionate, kind, humble and patient. We are to bear with one another and offer forgiveness. We are to choose to love others – yes, even the ones who get on our nerves, even the ones who hurt our feelings and even the ones who do not love us. So you see – love is an action – not a feeling. Choosing Joy means choosing obedience. We must be obedient to God’s word and love others.
“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39
Y – The Y in Joy stands for You. Jesus first, others next and yourself last = JOY. Oh our self – our flesh – can get us into a lot of trouble. We seem to put our feelings, our desires, our goals, our dreams, our hurts, our disappointments, our anger, our sadness, our pain – us - first. How can we be different? How can we get over our selfish ways, thoughts and patterns? We know that to accept Jesus we have to be born again. To be born again – we must die to our self. We are crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) As Christians we are to be new, different, and set apart from the world. However, we go rummage through the trash and find our selfish ways. Our flesh seeps back in and before we know it – we are acting just like the world (those who do not know Christ). Joys means a daily surrender of our flesh. Choosing Joy = Choosing Surrender. The Bible teaches that nothing we do should be done for personal gain, because of pride, or to build our self-esteem. We are to humbly submit to Jesus and to value people more than our pursuits or our plans. (Philippians 2:3)
Bottom line… How can we take the stance of choosing joy with all the madness of the Christmas season?
JOY= Jesus first, others next and you last. Joy = praising the One who came to earth to set an example and to pay our debt; the One who suffered and died for us; the One who arose and longs for us to love Him and come be with Him for eternity. Choosing Joy = Celebrating the True Meaning of Christmas. Because of Him we can experience Joy. Because of who He is we can embrace unspeakable joy. Because of what He has done we can be overjoyed.
Wishing you a Joyous Christmas!
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