All About GOD

All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

Choose Joy!   Apprehend it for yourself.

Listen along right here:

The morning was clear and very cold as I stepped up to order my coffee in historic old Monte Vista Hotel in Flagstaff.  Standing next to me was a young man, maybe 28 years of age, wearing skin tight black jeans, flashy leather jacket, mirrored glasses and a decorative white fur scarf, with head phones in and credit card poised to pay for his coffee.  'Good Morning,' I said to him, 'what are you listening to?' 'Princess Nokia . . . time to turn off her aggressive stuff,'  he said, reaching to make a change on his phone. 'Can I ask you a question?' 'Yes, of course.' [I asked him the question uppermost in my mind] 'Do you think it is possible that joy is a choice?'  He stood there a moment, and said, 'yeah, I guess it is. I mean, I can choose to think good thoughts that make me happy or focus on the negative or pessimistic and feel that way...huh.'  But is that how we choose joy? Simply focusing on the positive, ignoring the negative? Hmmm. There is far more to it.


Here's where we are with choosing joy.  Even in the midst of rough water, these things keep me afloat and assured: 

  >God is good

  >God does good

  >Nothing that comes my way catches God off guard

  >God is always at work... "My Father is always working, and so am I."  Jesus1

  >And though my heart may ache at times, my joy has not been robbed,

             because I really do trust God.'


Step a little closer, please.  I concur with the statement that what I believe about God is the most important thing about me. 2 What's more is that what I believe about God determines everything about me, and most certainly my joy!


That begs the question, 'Who shaped your view of God?  Stop and think about that a moment.  For instance, I was raised mostly in the Baptist church; and then what I learned from my mom, in Sunday School and my Christian high school pretty much shaped my view of God until I got into college.  At that time, I began writing in a journal asking questions about God and questions of God; I was on a personal quest to know God more intimately for myself. Also at that time, I began attending an Assemblies of God church in the inner city (San Francisco), which broadened both my understanding of God and worshiping him. 


Why talk about God in regard to choosing joy?  Our level of inner joy and contentment is based on the trust we have in knowing we have been created by a benevolent, almighty God who made us for relationship with himself. And in our relationship with him, there is true joy - and only in relationship with him. Hence this expression from the psalmist:

       You will make known to me the path of life;

       In Your presence is fullness of joy;

        In Your right hand there are pleasures forever3


In his presence . . . joy!  Gaining knowledge from God's Word and others about what relationship with God looks like, it all makes sense.  There is an almighty, all-loving, omniscient God who we can know and live with forever, because of Jesus Christ and his life and death for us. But Jesus does not force himself on anyone; each of us must choose.  If we choose to follow him, we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  And with the Holy Spirit comes joy!  As Paul explained, joy is one of the evidences that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in us.[On a personal note: when I pray in the morning, I ask God to forgive me of my sins, fill me anew with his spirit, and produce in me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. So in that way, Flagstaff guy was right. I am choosing to cooperate with God's presence in my life, desiring what he wants for me--love, joy, peace, etc. But I am not doing this on my own, as a dint of my own will; no, instead, I am walking with God, seeking his guidance and blessing in producing these things in my life--and since we are talking about it right now---namely, JOY!]


Since joy is linked with the heart of God, it makes complete sense that when His spirit is in us, we can know true joy!  This is my prayer for you:

   Now may the God of hope fill you with all 

   joy and peace as you trust in him,                                  

so that you will overflow with hope

    by the power of the Holy Spirit5 Paul's powerful prayer for the Roman Christians


Choose joy! "Bless God" - song



1 - John 5.17

2 - The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer

3 - Psalm 16.11, NASB

4 - Galatians 5.22-23

5 - Romans 15.13, NIV

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