Abraham Lincoln said, “Happiness is a choice we all have to make.” Wise words indeed, from our 16th President.
The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey Him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” Psalm 32:11
Sometimes the greatest obstacles to Christianity are Christians themselves. We are often perceived as being critical, judgmental, serious, pessimistic, suspicious, cranky, intolerant, stingy, and stodgy people. Wow! It’s no wonder there aren’t millions of people lining up to be a part of that kind of mindset. I always say that stereotypes wouldn’t exist if certain groups of people didn’t fit them so well.
How contrary are the perceptions of Christians to the life that Jesus lived and taught? He called it a “life lived to the fullest.” He wanted us to understand that a life lived for Christ should be a better life than what we’ve already got. And such a life should be characterized by joy and peace and happiness. When the world sees someone who displays pure joy and happiness, they tend to stand up and take notice. They start asking questions and are curious about how that person can be so full of peace and joy in the midst of today’s drama and crisis. Essentially, they will begin to see and understand what “real” Christianity is all about.
Does your face need a tune-up? My Gram always told me it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. Is your countenance reflecting criticism, pessimism and a judgmental frame of mind? Or, is it showing the light and love and joy of Jesus Christ?
How’s your attitude? Do people around you see and hear a grumbler and complainer? Are you an Eeyore? Or are you the kind of person who takes all things in stride – both good and bad – and sees the best in everything and everyone?
Children often sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!” Do you have that kind of joy inside you? If not, why? As a Christian, we should all have that kind of effervescent joy that comes with loving Christ, and it should be bubbling over and spilling out in every part of our lives. We might not be laugh-out-loud kind of people all the time, but we shouldn’t have to work to laugh and find the joy in life. The joy of the Lord should be shining through us at all times and in all things.
“Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the grumbling and complaining I’ve done, and for my bad attitude. Help me to remember that I have so much to be thankful for and so much to be joyful for – especially my salvation. Help me to remember to be joyful in all things and in every circumstance that comes my way; I want others to see the joy that comes from serving You. Thank you for Jesus, it’s through him that I can have a life of peace and happiness and real joy! Amen.”