In the past, I have wondered what joy is. What does it look like? How is it expressed or seen in my life? The more I have thought about this word, the more I have struggled with understanding it. Is it happy, happy? Is it fun, fun, fun? What does it look like really? How is joy revealed through my actions?

As I have struggled with this word or concept for many years, I have seen through multiple trials, suffering, and confusion, God, through these circumstances and by pushing me into His Word (Colossians 3:17, Deuteronomy 28:47) has shown me a path to joy. For me, the path to joy has been by fighting for and pushing through a consistent, purposeful, daily application of thankfulness. This is done routinely in writing, singing, and repentant self-talk. It really helps to maintain thankfulness in yucky situations.

Over time I have found a consistent heart of thankfulness to God displaces anger, bitterness, and negative speculations. It actually frees my heart, soul, and mind to a clear and obvious outward demeanor of joy. So it appears that joy is a choice. Choosing Jesus over self on a consistent, moment-by-moment basis. Maintaining a thankful heart of gladness for what Christ has done for me. True joy comes from God. Lord Jesus, fill me with Your joy, allow Your joy to shine through me. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

If we find ourselves lacking joy there is a good chance we are serving self. Because a selfless life serving Jesus will produce joy.

As I serve Jesus, keeping myself clean and clear from sin, there will be a joy about me. If Christ has covered all my sin past, present, and future, and my body of sin has been nailed to the cross with Christ, then when God looks at me He doesn’t see my sin, He sees Jesus’ sacrifice. Why wouldn’t I be joyful? I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!

I love You God. I trust You God. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank You God.