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Live in JOY!

“Christian joy is letting Christ live His life out through you so that what He is you become.” David Jeremiah 

 It really is quite simple. 

 We try to complicate it. Do it our own way. Chase things and people, experiences, titles … all in the pursuit of joy. But the truth of the Gospel whittles it down to three simple things, in this specific order: 

 Jesus + Others + You = JOY 

 First things first. Joy is different than happiness. Happiness is circumstantial. It’s the feeling you get when your child takes his first step. The smile that comes with the purchase of a comfortable pair of shoes … or a tasty bowl of ice cream. It’s the “high” you get when you are recognized for a job well done. Happiness is great … but also fleeting. Because it is based on your feelings, it simply cannot be relied upon. 

 Joy is different. It lasts no matter what. How can this be? Joy comes from Jesus 

 Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

 Jesus makes it possible for us to find joy this side of heaven … amid rush-hour traffic, screaming kids and a darkening world. His joy is better than circumstantial happiness and wells up within you, despite the trouble around you.  

 How do we find the joy of Jesus? Know Him. Love Him. Obey Him.  

 After your relationship with Jesus, next comes others. Once again, simple … and yet, so difficult. Our natural inclination is “me first.” But the path to lasting joy requires us to put others first!  

 The good news is: as you serve others, your own troubles melt away. Selfless action replaces selfish thinking.  

 Finally, you. This is more than just permission to give in to fleshly, me-oriented desires! First, it is a position. It is being “last.” (Remember, Matthew 20:16 says, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” In the Kingdom of God, your decision to be last will move you straight to the head of the line!)  

 Second, it is an act of the will. A choice. A look inward at yourself to make sure you are becoming more like Him. And in the ways that you are not? You’ve got to make some changes! You, with a pure mind … a clean heart … an open hand. This is the best version, the most joyful version, of YOU! 

 My prayer this week—Lord, I want to live a joy-filled life! One that is not reliant on my circumstances, but the joy that is only found in Christ. Help me seek YOU first … serve others without reservation … and develop a heart and mind that knows you better and loves you more. Thank you, Lord, for joy!