Here is the devotional:
The Daily Choice for Joy
A study done by Shawn Achor and Arianna Huffington found that listening to just three minutes of bad news in the morning can make you 27% more likely to report having a bad day six to eight hours later.
If this study proves anything, it’s that it’s too easy to feel stress in today’s society.
With the abundance of stressors today, not doing anything to combat our stress is actually a choice for stress.
Because stress is so readily available today, we must make joy a discipline.
Putting the words “joy” and “discipline” in the same sentence together doesn’t make sense at first. One word sounds bright and happy while the other sounds morose. How do the two fit together?
One thing I’ve learned while studying joy is that joy is not something we automatically have. It must be cultivated (hence, a discipline).
In John 15:11, when Jesus is talking with the disciples, He makes a distinction. He says, “my joy” and “your joy.” He wants His joy to be in His disciples, and He wants the joy of the disciples to be full.
What does this mean? It means, our joy is different than the joy of Jesus. Jesus bears complete joy, and He wants our joy to be full like His.
Many believers might assume that they automatically have complete joy once they become a Christian. But then once something bad happens, they face a cognitive dissonance.
Weren’t they supposed to have joy in their trials? What’s missing?
In John, we see Jesus consistently compelling the disciples to have full joy like Him (John 16:24). We even see Jesus pray to God that His joy is fulfilled in the disciples (John 17:13).
Joy is not automatic. It is a discipline, a daily choice we must make.
This is important to understand, especially since stress is so easily available to us today. As Christians, we need to strive for the fullness of joy that Jesus wants us to have.
Joy is incomplete without Jesus. As you face the stressors of today, pray for God to increase your capacity for joy in a stressful world. Then tomorrow, I’ll show you how you can practically strive for the joy of Jesus in the face of daily stress.
Here are the scriptures referenced:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 15:1-11 KJV
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
John 17:6-19 KJV
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:24 KJV
Here are Stu’s thoughts:
Well for starters any Christian within two months knows that joy is not an automatic thing upon salvation.
It’s sort of like a honeymoon. We’re all excited about the newness and then every day life kicks in.
Some new Christians fall back into the same habits they had before. There goes what little joy they had. It’s not their fault…per se.
We’ve all heard this at one time or another in our walk…
The joy of the Lord is my strength!
I’ve heard this one more often though…
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…
Or even this one…
His grace is sufficient. He is strong when you are weak.
Well which one is it dang it?!?
It’s all 3 actually.
Our problem is we try to take the reigns when we can’t control the horse.
We try to combat our sin by our own strength…doesn’t work! I tried for decades!!
We try to find joy in the temporal things of this world. That’s what we are use to. The problem with that is that it’s a fleeting joy.
And when we are stressed a lot of us turn to quick fixes…like sweets, coffee, cigarettes, Mary Jane, etc…
And we all know those things do not help the stress much less give us joy.
Now, this will be new ground for me…
Years ago I asked one of the older ladies in church how she has so much joy with ever thing going on in her life…
I meant that question! I was trying to find that joy…
Divorce…quitting porn and drinking…not joyful to say the least. Work was a drag.
You know what her answer was?!?
I was honestly mad at that moment. That was not the answer I was looking for and yet deep down I knew..
Jesus was, is and always be the answer.
We just have to make it a point to find that joy IN Jesus, cherish it, & keep it.
When people ask Angie how she can so easily talk about her son Matthew and his death or even how she can smile with all she has been through…her answer…is the same. Jesus!
The joy of the Lord is something we must cultivate. It’s not going to just show up one day and say hi.
We must read His Word! We must pray! We must seek Him!
And on the daily ASK for His Joy.
After all..are we not suppose to work out our salvation on a daily basis? Then we should be cultivating His Joy into our lives daily!
That’s something I desperately need to work on.