Choose Joy

I am thankful for the country I live in. Our founding fathers wrote many wonderful documents that set up our government and democracy. But one line in the Declaration of Independence has always intrigued me and that is that our government is to defend ” …..life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I am not going off on a tangent here about all the implications of this but the phrase “pursuit of happiness” is where, I feel, our society spends all of its time.

Aren’t we like that? Always looking for something better? Always looking for what makes me happy?  I’ll be happy when I get that job, new car, new house, new spouse… This list could go on and on. We find ourselves pursuing and never reaching that time in our life  that we can be content.

We have a choice. We can continue on this merry-go-round and continually feel we have never arrived or we can choose to follow a life that really matters. A life that is joyful and has meaning.

In the book of Nehemiah chapter 8 we see the children of Israel have returned to Jerusalem and began to rebuild the wall. We see here a beautiful display of worship as they gathered together in unity to hear the reading of the Law of Moses.  They actually worshipped from daybreak until noon (hummm…….that doesn’t fit our 20 minute sermon time does it??) As the law was being read and taught the people began to weep and cry. The law had penetrated their hearts. But Nehemiah says in verse 10, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

What a statement, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” What does that say to you? To me it is saying that true joy is knowing that my God is greater. My God is bigger than anything that comes in my way. I do not have to rely on what I can or cannot do because God has it under control.

1 Peter 1:8-9 says,  “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Choose joy over happiness any day! Let God be your strength and defender. Hold fast to your faith in Him and understand what living an abundant life is all about.

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