Choosing Joy Day After Day by Miriam

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
Galatians 5:22

Ten years ago this month, I turned 50. I decided to begin a 52-week devotional entitled Choosing Joy by Angela Thomas the day after my birthday — June 11, 2012. At that point in my life we were two and a half years into caring for my mother-in-love in our home. She had Alzheimer’s Disease. Things were getting very difficult.

As the weeks progressed in my time with the Lord and this devotion on choosing joy, God reminded me that He is our source of joy. As the scripture above states, “…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives…joy…”. You see it isn’t about my circumstances — which over the past 10 years have been both good and not so good — it is about a choice. I choose daily to submit to the Lordship of Jesus in my life. As I do, the Holy Spirit works in my life producing His fruit.

This month I turned 60 (on June 10th). Over the past 12 years our family has experienced deep lows and some amazing highs, as well as all the in between things. My precious mother-in-love and my precious daddy went home to be with their Savior in 2014 and 2020, respectively. We gained a son-in-love and another daughter-in-love, and we have been blessed with nine grandchildren in these years as well. We had some hard things as we struggled with where the Lord had us in ministry and where we felt He was leading.

Some days it is much easier to choose joy than others, but 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always,”. It doesn’t say to rejoice only when things are going great. If you read on to verse 17 it says, “pray continually,” (or some translations say “without ceasing”). Verse 18 goes on to say, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

These past 10 years I have found it a little bit easier, as the years go by, to choose joy. It isn’t easier because I have arrived—far from it. It is easier because I have learned the only way to make the choice to be joyful is to lean deeply into Jesus. I’ve asked the Lord to convict me quickly when I start to go down the grumbling path (it is easy to do). He has been faithful to do just that. I talk to the Lord often throughout my day (pray continually) and I thank Him in all the seasons (easy ones and hard ones).

What will your response be? Will you choose joy today?

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