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Immerse: Messiah - Week 8, Day 37

Choose Joy

A few weeks ago, I was wrestling in prayer about something, and I continued to feel anxious about it even after praying. It was kind of annoying. I was even losing sleep, and that was just unacceptable because this girl needs her sleep.

One morning as I was praying, I had the thought, “Not worrying starts with joy.” I always couple not worrying or being anxious with prayer and specifically with thanksgiving and with the verse Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” However, I hadn’t ever thought much about rejoicing or joy being a biblical antidote for worry. Yet just a few sentences before this familiar encouragement is one of the thirteen different references to joy or rejoicing in Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

This week as you read through the book of Philippians, I hope you’re able to see all the instances of joy I saw! Here are just a few:
Joy in prayer
Joy in evangelism
Joy in faith
Joy in trials
Joy in hospitality

I think the one that challenges me the most is found on page 230: “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1).

Whatever happens, rejoice. Does that seem slightly difficult to anyone else but me? Joy doesn’t always come naturally to me; I have to work at it. But Paul encourages the church of then and the church of now to make rejoicing and joy a priority. This isn’t a demand to “fake it till you make it,” but it’s definitely an invitation to choose your response and your attitude.

No matter what comes your way, opt for joy. If you find yourself worried or anxious, be joyful. Make a conscious decision to do things that bring joy to your life. Be determined to remind yourself of the goodness and character of God. Get up and dance. Sing at the top of your lungs. In all things, choose joy.

- Angela Hastings