Choose Joy!

"Joy isn't so much a feeling as it is an action of us choosing to trust God in our circumstances." -Unknown⠀ This is the first year I've done an advent study. The topic of joy is what my heart has been drawn towards. I keep coming back to the quote above. In the Bible, we are called to rejoice. Though both joy and happiness are similar, they are not the same. Happiness 'happens,' but joy is actually a choice. If God commands something in the Bible, it means we can make a decision to either obey or disobey. When we consider joy as an act and not merely a feeling, peace is found.⠀ Paul encouraged the Philippians in saying "with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Paul said that if they were to do this, "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." We see then that choosing to rejoice is tied to the presence of peace. If we are not experiencing peace, it could be due to the fact that we are not following the command to rejoice in the Lord. Choosing joy is not ignoring or dismissing the troubles we encounter. It is making a conscious decision to trust God, regardless of what we are facing.⠀ Being in Christ is a cause for great joy. Even in the worst circumstances, we have that constant assurance of our salvation. We can choose to love God by rejoicing in what He accomplished for us, on the cross. Also, our choice of joy is a great testimony to the world. Joy in the midst of pain is confusing to the world, and by this, we are making a statement with our actions, "My God is good all the time!"⠀ It doesn't always feel like we have a choice, but we do. The Holy Spirit will give us the ability. Remind yourself that you are not at the mercy of your feelings. God has given you the ability to rejoice in Him. He has promised to give you a peace that surpasses your understanding- a peace that will guard your heart, in the midst of chaos. Ask God to help you be a testimony of His goodness... that others would recognize Who you belong to, because of your consistent joy in God. ⠀ "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." Philippians 4:4

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