9/5/07

Fresh Joy

Joy is a choice - a conscious, focused, look-beyond-your-circumstances, keep-your-eyes-on-Jesus decision. We need fresh joy every day.

My dear girlfriend Nancy recently attended a Memorial Service and funeral - not "happy" circumstances. Her son Ryan, a Marine recently returned from Iraq, died in an accident two miles from her home. It was both ironic and tragic. She walked through the understandable struggles of a saint. She acknowledged God’s sovereignty one moment, and wondered "what good can come from this?" the next. Her assurance in God, her confidence in His love and goodness, and her belief that God’s purposes are greater and wiser than her own have sustained her, even though she still grieves...deeply. One might say that her joy is sustained in the midst of her grief as God’s Spirit works supernaturally in her spirit. Joy is, after all, part of the fruit of the Spirit.

One of the best definitions of joy I’ve ever read was by Kay Warren, wife of Dr. Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life author). She wrote, "Joy is the unshakable assurance that God is in control of all the details in my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be alright; and the determined purpose to praise God in all things." Unshakable assurance ... quiet confidence ... determined purpose. This is a lot more substantial than a "happy face" mentality.

Joy has healing properties (Proverbs 17:22). It is the highest expression of a life saturated with God’s love and grace. A joyful heart looks for reasons to be thankful. It looks for God’s hand of blessing in the messes, absurdities, and even tragedies of life. Unlike happiness, which is unreliable, joy wells up from within. When we "lose our joy," we forget God; we forget His promises, faithfulness, and sustaining grace. There is joy in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11) because He is the source of all we need. We can even face down temptation with joy (James 1:2) because of His strength within us. We truly rejoice in Him (Philippians 4:4).

You can choose your focus today. Will it be on your challenging circumstances, or will you look beyond your circumstances to God’s promises and presence?

3 comments:

Shelley said...

Dawn, I just wanted to say thank you for your choice of Joy that you shared with me today. You are a great speaker and God is blessing you with your choices.
It is clear that you are looking beyond your circumstances to God’s promises and presence.
Great Website. I am glad we have become Seasoned Sisters together and I know we will see each other often.
Choosing Joy

Keckler said...
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Keckler said...

Dawn,

I love your blog! I'm thrilled to see how the Lord is using your many gifts for His glory. There are so many nuggets here that will bless many women--I know!

I'm glad we got to connect a bit this weekend. Thank you for sharing your wisdom--and joy--with all of us!

Maria