2015 is almost here. Many people will make resolutions, set goals and even pick one word to base their new year on. Honestly, none of us know what our new year will hold. What we can know is living JOY in the new year is one resolution, goal and word that will make a difference.
Joy defined is “a glorious and triumphant state; to rejoice; to be glad; to exult.” (1828 Webster’s Dictionary) Living joy is resigning to the idea that all is good in the good and in the bad. In all circumstances, “a joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)
We are called to live the fruit of the Spirit which “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22) Have you ever noticed that joy is the second one listed? We are to love first then live joy. If we have a constant delight in the Lord (we love Him with all our heart), then joy is inevitable in all things. (Psalm 37:4)
Proverbs 17, verse 22 (above) reminds us that being joy-filled is “good medicine.” It is healthy to the mind, body and, especially, the soul. If a trying situation comes upon us, a joy-filled heart will do us better than bitterness, resentment or anger. James 1:20 warns us, “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” We are to “count it all joy” it says in James 1:2. That means in all circumstances and situations we are to have a heart of joy….completely trusting in the purpose of God. There’s joy in knowing God is purposeful in all He does.
So, how can we live joy in the new year? Well, one way placing our focus on the Lord all the time. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Psalm 28:7) Living joy happens when we decide on looking to our heavenly Father and trusting Him in every moment. There 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525, 600 minutes in a year and each is an opportunity to put God first. There is joy in His presence. (Psalm 21:6)
Another way is making note of Scripture that focuses on joy and rejoicing. Write them down. Memorize them. Live them. “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) If a single moment begins to steal our joy, we will have hidden verses on joy in our heart to fall back on. Those verses will remind us to “rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) Not just when things are going good but even when things are not.
Choosing to live joy is not easy and takes constant diligence of heart so be sure to keep it in prayer.
How will you live JOY in the new year?