Commitment to Joy

Yes, He does want His children to live in joy, and there’s a way to do it if we’ll trust Him.

The way begins with commitment. To become a Christian in the first place, one decides to follow Jesus no matter what. Why not make a similar commitment in regard to joy — to rejoice in the Lord always, no matter what? Isn’t it only a lack of faith that keeps us from this?

In conversations I’ve given up on trying to argue people out of their unhappiness. The more one reasons with them, the more their eyes glaze over. Theologically most Christians will probably agree that the Bible teaches and offers a life of joy, yet deep down they’re not convinced. They’re especially not convinced that such a life is possible for them, or for any ordinary person, right now. Neither seeing nor believing in the joy set before them, they’re resigned to unhappiness, and so that’s what they get.

Resignation is a form of commitment. In effect these skeptics are committed to their own unhappiness. Some may not admit they’re unhappy, yet neither can they claim to be deeply happy. They’ve stopped short of abundant joy, the achieving of which requires a determination to leave none of joy’s stones unturned. Happy times may come to anyone haphazardly, but if happiness is to be part of the character, one must resolutely take hold of it. One must choose joy, and keep on choosing it under all conditions, until gradually it becomes a habit, a self-sustaining reality. Lives change not through having some colossal experience but rather by making small, hard, daily choices.

In the same way that a commitment to love erodes selfishness, a commitment to joy provides a place to stand against all worldly vicissitudes. Do you want to live in fear, always wondering if some calamity will ruin your life? Then remain committed to the notion that it’s impossible to rejoice in all circumstances. But if you want to be free, commit to joy come what may. In view of all that can happen to foil happiness, resolve deep within, “Nothing will stop me. I’m fixing my eyes on Jesus, and I’m not letting anything interrupt my joy in Him.”

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 55-56.

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