This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118:24 NLT
For many years I have thought joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit that cannot be present in our lives apart from the Holy Spirit. And for many years I have ascribed my lack of finding joy and pleasure in things to the fact that perhaps it is how it is supposed to be. I have opened myself up to the Holy Spirit and asked Him to fill my life with His joy and so if I am not joyful then it is not my fault.
This evening I was reading a book titled the ‘Habits of a Godly Woman’ and came across one of the topics, ‘the habit of joy’. As the author suggests joy is a habit that can be cultivated. You can be joyful on purpose and you can incorporate a habit of joy in your life! I read through the chapter with a lot of skepticism until I came to the verse I have quoted in my opening. This is a verse I repeat very often whenever I am in the gathering of believers. In fact, once or twice per month I serve in church as the service director and I always start my production meetings with the catch phrase “this is the day the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Up until this moment this verse has been a cliché for me. Something I always say to bring people’s attention to the fact that we are about to start the meeting. Today, what caught my attention was the phrase “we will rejoice.” This phrase suggests that joy (and rejoicing) is a choice. God has made the day- He has once again given us breath in our lungs and has blessed us with a day that He calls Today. He has made provisions for the day by giving us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) so that we can seize all the opportunities in the day but it is up to us to a large extent how we show up and posture through out the day. God has already filled our hearts with joy as a result of our salvation (1 Peter 1:8-9) but it is up to us to allow this joy to be expressed in full measure in our lives.
Joy is a habit that can be developed. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you can decide to focus on everything that is good about your situation and choose to rejoice. As you do that often, you will develop the habit of joy. There are so many expressions of joy. The more obvious one is through laughter, but that is not the only way to express joy. The author suggests joy produces a range of emotions from extreme hilarity to calm delight. However we choose to express joy (depending on the situation and circumstance) the end goal is that it gives us strength and strengthens those around us.
The joy of the LORD is our strengthNehemiah 8:10
I am an introvert by nature and would not be described by those who know me as the life of the party but on many occasions I put myself out there and have charmed many an audience with my quick wit and sense of humor. I am hilarious when I want to be and so there is nothing that prevents me from choosing to be joyful always. Choosing to be joyful does not mean I need to change who I am and become an extrovert. For my introvert friends, the joy of the LORD can be a quiet confidence (Isaiah 30: 15). The bottom line is that the joy of the LORD has nothing to do with who we are and everything to do with who He is. It comes from knowing whom we have believed in and reveling in all that He has done and is continuing to do in our lives.
In 2023, let us choose to be joyful on purpose. Let’s be intentional about choosing joy and enjoying the benefits of everyday called Today. This is the year the LORD has made we will rejoice and be glad in the remaining 358 days left.
P.S. Wow! 2022 was quite the year! I rejoice for the grace of a new year 2023!