Did you notice the name of my blog? I Choose Joy. I thought of that name years ago, but don’t remember why it seemed so poignant at the time. I think God gave me those words. And since then, He has used it over and over in my life to convict me. You see, I don’t always choose joy.
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I have no control over many of the things that happen to me, but I do have control over how I respond. Many times I don’t want to believe that. I think, there is no way I can respond positively or joyfully to a particular bad circumstance. But I love what chuck Swindoll said : We do have control over one thing: Attitude. Here is his quote:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.
If you’re a non-believer, attitude could help you some, yes. But ultimately your attitude will fail because it isn’t grounded in any hope. That kind of attitude is ultimately grounded in yourself – a fallible person. Now here’s the really joyous thing. If we have the Holy Spirit, we can have the attitude that only God can give us !
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV84)
Do you remember the account of Paul and Silas in jail at midnight? After being stripped, beaten, and severely flogged, they were thrown into prison with their feet fastened in stocks. How would you respond if that happened to you? I think I would have said, “God, I was doing what you told me to do–telling others about the good news of Jesus’ love and salvation. How could You allow this to happen to me?”. But that’s not how Paul and Silas responded!
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25 NIV84)
Wow. How often do I respond like that? (And I can’t remember being flogged and beaten before.) Do I ever sing to God at midnight when I’m up with a sick or nursing child?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV84)
Pure joy. That is my prayer today, that you (and I) will choose joy this week whenever we face trials of many kinds. Let’s persevere so that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing! Choose Joy!