Our Bible verse for today: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Choose joy.”
I read an interesting statement the other day about choosing joy. It read, “Without exception, people who consistently laugh do so in spite of, seldom because of anything. They pursue fun rather than wait for it to knock on their door in the middle of the day.”
I think the author is correct. I think people who are habitually happy, upbeat, and joyful, people who laugh easily and often, are that way on purpose. They’re intentional about it. It’s not that they don’t have issues, they do. And it’s not that their lives are problem free, they aren’t. It’s just that these people have chosen to be intentional about maintaining an upbeat and positive attitude. They’re not being naïve they’re just “choosing” joy.
Is it really possible to be faced with problems, even serious problems, and to actually deal with them effectively and realistically without giving in to brooding and despondency? Evidently the Apostle Paul thought so. In Philippians 4:4 he issued a very direct command. There he told us to rejoice in the Lord always. And just to be sure we didn’t miss his strong emphasis he repeated, “I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Philippians is considered to be the most joy-filled letter in the entire Bible. But Paul wrote it when he was an old man, sick and in prison, and probably facing execution for his faith. So Paul wasn’t telling us to ignore our problems or to pretend they don’t exist, he was simply telling us to not be defined by our problems and to not let them steal our joy. It is possible to deal with your problems while still being happy about everything else in your life that is good and positive.
As I write this first draft of Friday’s devotional message it is actually Thursday morning. My next task for today is to prepare for the Thursday night Marriage Enrichment Bible study. Just a few moments ago I was on Facebook and saw a picture of a church sign which was oddly relevant. It listed the sermon titles for the Sunday morning and Sunday evening services at that church. The title for the morning sermon was “Preparing for Marriage”. The title for the evening sermon (no kidding) was “A Look at Hell”.
Wow! I better get busy preparing for tonight. There’s some joy that can be found in all marriages if you just look for it and I need to help these good folks discover it!