Prayer is a spiritual discipline that most Christians are familiar with but most of us are frustrated with at times. Why don’t Christians pray more? We don’t know how. If you didn’t grow up in church, or even if you did, praying can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you grew up in a formal church where the pastor […]
HABIT #1: Choose to be joyful.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Most of us have the wrong idea about joy. We think of joy as a feeling, as a mood, as an emotion. The danger in seeing joy as a feeling or emotion is that we can’t normally control those things. Therefore it makes the command in Philippians 4 to ‘rejoice’ seem absurd. How can you force someone to be joyful? Wouldn’t that be determined by your external circumstances? It’s almost like yelling at your kids, “You’re going to eat your vegetables and you’re going to enjoy them whether you like it or not!!”
If you think that way about joy—that it’s something out of your control—then you’re thinking about joy the wrong way. The first step to renewing your mind is to get the right idea about joy. Think of joy as an attitude, not a feeling. Think of joy as a choice, not an emotion or mood. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction to your circumstances. You can control your attitude. You can choose to be joyful, no matter the circumstances.
Any mental pushback to that last statement that might be popping up in your head right now is simply a crutch that’s allowed you to wallow in defeat for too long. If you’re going to be transformed from the inside out, if you’re going achieve a life of inner contentment, it starts with the basic understanding that joy is a choice. If you’re miserable, it’s because you choose to be. No outside circumstances force misery on you. It’s a choice. If you’re joyful, it’s because you choose joy. That’s why Philippians 4 can command us to rejoice.
*We both know choosing joy is a lot harder than it sounds, especially if you’re out of practice. That’s what the Philippians 4 Challenge is for. We’ll do it together!
Share in the comments below and answer this question, “How natural is it for you to choose to be joyful? How often do outside circumstances and events determine your attitude?”
Holy Spirit, may you continually remind me that joy is a choice, and may you give me the strength everyday to choose to be joyful.
See if you can notice three separate times today when you feel yourself getting angry, frustrated, or dwelling on negative thoughts or emotions. Three times today tell yourself out loud, “Choose to be joyful.”
*If your mood doesn’t instantly change, don’t worry about it. All we’re trying to do today is get you to notice the moment when outside circumstances begin to influence you and for you to realize that in that moment, you have a choice.
After you’re done, encourage others to do the same! Help spread the word about the Philippians 4 Challenge by using #phil4challenge on social media!