Joy Is a Choice

“I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)

“The best way to cheer our-self is to try to cheer someone else up.”

“Sometimes our joy is the source of our smile, but sometimes our smile can be the source of your joy.”
In the book of Philippians, Paul uses the word “joy” 16 times in just four chapters. As a prisoner in a Roman jail, awaiting execution, it’s pretty amazing to think that he was able to write the most positive book of the Bible during one of the darkest times of his life.
We, too, can have that same kind of joy. In Philippians, Paul gives us six joy-builders to help us live joyful lives, no matter what our circumstances are. JOY-FUL. we’ll look at the last three joy-builders.
Focus on what’s good:
Life is filled with ups and downs, but we have a choice: Which are we going to focus on — the good or the bad?

Paul says in Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT). Where do we get a list of things like that? Talk radio? Television? No. The newspaper or magazines? No. But there is one place we can count on: God’s Word. The more we fill your mind with this book, the more positive and joyful we’re going to be. God’s Word is true, it is right, and it is admirable. It is worthy of value. Spend some time reading God’s Word every day.

Use your life to help others:
Paul was joyful because he was unselfish. He invested his life in others. If we want to have continuous joy in our life, here is the secret: Give our life away. Stop focusing on our puny problems and aches and pains, and start focusing on helping others. The more we give our life away, Jesus said, the more we find it. The more unselfish we become, the more joyful a person we’re going to be. “I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work” (Philippians 4:1b). Paul’s joy came from serving the people in whom he had invested his life — the people he had led to Christ and discipled.

Learn to be content:
This is the bottom line: Joy is a decision. We are as joyful as we choose to be. We get caught up in “when and then” thinking (“When ‘this’ happens in my life, then I’ll be happy”). We are as joyful as we choose to be, because joy is a choice. Philippians 4:11 says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (NIV). We can always be joyful — no matter what happens — because God is in control. We may think that joy is some kind of characteristic for a naturally upbeat and cheerful person, and we’re “just not the joyful type.” we’re wrong.

We have a chance to determine our destiny. Change right now the priorities in our life. Change right now what we’re going to live the rest of our life for. If we will begin to yield yourself to God’s purpose, get to know God’s Son, and use our life to help other people, then we will have more joy than we could ever imagine.

What are the circumstances that are keeping us from being content and joyful? How will serving others help save us from focusing on our circumstances?

(Devotional sharing received from a Church Leader.)

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