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God’s Gift of Joy

by J. M. Farro on January 17th, 2011

When I first began reading through the Gospels years ago, I was delighted to discover that Jesus spoke a lot about joy. Not only is joy a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), but it is our inheritance in Christ. Just before Jesus went to the cross, He warned His disciples about His death, and told them: “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22 NIV) The Lord has used this verse many times to remind me that, while not even the devil himself can take my joy from me, I can relinquish it, if I choose to.

How do we relinquish, or surrender, our joy? We allow bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness to creep into our hearts. We give permission to the devil to beat us over the head with guilt and condemnation. We allow a fear of failure to paralyze us, and to make us ineffective for God. Or we let someone’s mistreatment of us fester in our hearts.

I’ve discovered that the quickest way for me to get my joy back, after I’ve given it away, is to adopt a grateful attitude. I begin thinking of all the good things that God has already given me, or done for me, and I meditate on His goodness and faithfulness. When I do that, the joy stealers that I mentioned above lose their grip on me.

Are you making the most of God’s gift of joy to you today?

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