It’s one of my most favorite words of all time.
I’m amazed that my emotional response to God’s character, will, and relationship with me can be described in a tiny, 3-letter-word.This past Monday, we introduced our beloved ‘Choose Joy’ hoodies. This flagship design has been with us since the beginning, and is one that we believe most embodies Persimmon’s mission and our heart for each person God calls us to influence.
This week, as we launch our Choose Joy hoodies, I’d like to walk you through two questions:
What is Joy? And, how do we choose it?So, what exactly is Joy?
What a great question for every one of us to ask! For some, pondering the definition of joy may have never occurred to you. And for others, you may know what joy means, but like me, you need a ‘fine tuning’ of certainty, and perhaps a reassurance of how powerful joy is in everyday life.
Rather than me defining this precious word, let me share how a few highly respected theologians have captured its meaning, while digging through God’s word…
John Piper states that “Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as He causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.”
And Rick Warren reminds us that, “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of [our lives], the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
One of my favorite definitions of joy is by James MacDonald, as he says, “Joy is a supernatural delight in the person of God, the purposes of God, and the people of God.” So, how do we choose JOY?
Notice how each of these definitions points to how joy originates from the Lord? It’s a supernatural delight, it’s a settled assurance, it’s a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit.
Joy is not ours to create. It’s ours to receive... and receiving it is a choice.
Pastor MacDonald talks about how our lasting joy can only be received by God, and can be found in three beautiful ways: by seeing God’s true character revealed in our world, by connecting with God’s purposes, and by living out a deep satisfying relationship with others who know and love the Lord.
We choose joy by opening our eyes to God’s character - by praising, by praying, by pointing everything in our lives back to the One who created us. We recognize the fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives and see that through love, peace, goodness, faithfulness, self-control - and joy, we are following the footsteps of Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23).
We choose joy by opening our hearts to God’s purposes - by seeing our circumstances through an eternal lens, by finding joy amidst anger, happiness, and even depression. Through the work of the cross, and by seeing God’s greater purpose, we can take a step outside of ourselves, and gaze back into our lives, our emotions, our circumstances - and count it all as joy (James 1:2).
We choose joy by opening our lives to God’s people - by enjoying and investing in relationships with others who walk with the Him, and by sharing in a life that gives Him glory. We delight in the work God does in the lives of His people, and walk alongside them when they are hurting. Through the Spirit, we receive refreshment and joy in their company, and in their prayers (Romans 15:30-32).Joy - the most unique emotion of them all - is the delightful assurance of Christ, our King, who has overcome the world.
And all we need to do is choose it.
KACIE FEENEY is the founder of Persimmon Prints and lives in the Chicago area with her husband of 3 years. They have two malti-poo pups, Lucy & Rosey. You can connect with her & Persimmon on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.