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A popular song says, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Problem is, that mere happiness depends on what is happening to, around, or for people. It’s really happen-ness. It comes and goes (along with worry) depending on what has happened, ishappening or is expected to happen. You can do better. You can opt to be joyful.

Joy is a strong, perpetual gladness of heart; something within, that doesn’t fluctuate according to what’s happening without. Joy has to do with the inner life, not the outer life. It’s a seed that is planted in the hearts of those who have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It’s a “seed” meant to grow, a flicker of flame that’s meant to be fanned. It’s part of what Jesus was talking about when He promised to give us life “more abundantly” and to make us “free indeed” (John 10:10; 8:36).

A wise man once said, “The man who has no inner life is the slave of his surroundings.” You can live locked into and enslaved by a “happiness” mode, or you can tap into your God-given ‘joy” mode (Tell God you’re doing it, thank Him for the privilege, and ask Him to forgive you for not doing it sooner). Then, you’ll find that “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10), and that no matter what happens, you can “count it all joy” (James 1:2).


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