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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Joy Is a Choice

In summary of Philippians 1:6 it says,
“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.”

Bottom Line:
God Who began the good work in you will keep on working within you until the day Jesus Christ comes again.

What this means to me:
When I turned my life over to Him he started doing His good work within me, helping to shape my perspective and adjust my values, and His work with continue up until the day that Jesus comes for me.  As I mentioned yesterday, Paul in the book of Philippians used 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 an extremely positive book of the Bible during one of the darkest times of his life.  I am learning that I can have that same kind of joy. In the book of Philippians, Paul provided six joy-builders to use in constructing a  joyful life, no matter the circumstances. Yesterday I reviewed the first three letters in the acrostic — JOYFUL. Here are the last three joy-builders.
F: Focus on what’s good.  Life can be filled with ups and downs, however I have a choice: Which are you 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).  The only real place I can find these things are in God’s Word. The more I fill my mind with this book, the more positive and joyful I’ll be. God’s Word is true, it is right, and it is admirable. It is worthy of value.
U: Use your life to help others. Paul was joyful because he was unselfish. He invested his life in others. In order for me to experience continuous joy in my life, I need to give my life away. Stop focusing on my puny problems and aches and pains, and start focusing on helping others. The more I give my life away, the more you find it. The more unselfish I become, the more joyful a person I’ll be.
L: Learn to be content.  This is the bottom line: Joy is a decision. I’ll be as joyful as I choose to be.
I tend to get caught up in “when and then” thinking (“When ‘this’ happens in my life, then I’ll be more content”). I’m as joyful as I choose to be, because joy is a choice. Philippians 4:11 says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (NIV). I can always be joyful — no matter what happens — because God is in control.
I have a chance to determine my destiny. Changing right now the priorities of my life. Change right now what I’m going to live the rest of my life for. If I can continue to yield myself to God’s purpose, getting to know His Son, and using my life to help others, then I’ll have more joy than I could ever imagine.