By Andrea Merrell
“There’s no bigger turnoff to non-Christians than a sour-faced, gloomy-gus Christian,” my pastor said. He was referring to the total and complete lack of joy that should be clearly evident in the life of every child of God.
His words made me think about how many people I’ve met over the years who fit into that category. Then, those thoughts caused me to delve a little deeper, and I wondered how many times I may have come across as a joy-less Christian myself.
We all have problems, and tough times are just that—tough. Yet, the Bible instructs us to rejoice—always—in all circumstances—no matter what. That’s a tall order until we realize joy is a gift from God. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and does not depend upon our surroundings the way happiness does.
I learned early-on that happiness is gauged by what goes on around me. Since situations and circumstances are in a constant state of change, so are emotions. It’s possible to be blissfully happy one minute and depressed the next. It’s like being on an emotional roller coaster.
The good news is this: we have a choice. Just like anything else in God’s kingdom (giving, serving, offering forgiveness, sharing the gospel) we can embrace God’s gifts and walk in them, regardless of the cares of this life. We can rejoice in the midst of chaos and adverse situations because of hope—Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Today, choose joy and shine the light on all those around you.
(Photos courtesy of morguefile.com.)
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