Choosing Joy - Matthew Boyd

I love the coziness of this season — the short days, the continual fire in the fireplace, and everything else that we think of at Christmastime. But the thing that has brought me the most joy this season has been diving into the Word of God with my 3-year-old daughter. When we do, I watch as she begins to truly understand the story of Jesus coming down to earth in the form of a baby, who later dies for us so that we may have life with Him. The joy I experience as she makes these connections in her mind, discovering that Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, is unlike any gift I’ve received. My daughter knows that, while all of the other Christmas festivities are cool, this is about Jesus. 

Joy is incredibly important to me. It’s a perspective that Christ not only offers, but calls us to. The fruits of the Spirit are not composed of things such as negativity or pessimism, they are made up of things like joy, love and things of that nature. It’s how God calls us to live, how He has wired us to be. Even scientifically, we know that our bodies feed off of joy and positivity. 

But perspective is everything. The pattern in our world is to be negative or think critically about everything and everyone. It’s a lot easier to look negatively at everything around us, but it takes intentionality and purposefulness to be optimistic. And this is how Christ calls us to live. With His Spirit within us, we are able to choose joy no matter what. 

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” We are called to a continual renewing of our mind. When we look at God’s Word, we see what the will of God is — that it’s pleasing, good, even perfect. Knowing that His perfect will prevails is enough reason to choose joy!

First, we need to be aware of what God’s will is and what He is calling us to. We must pay attention to the thoughts we have and take them captive so that they align with God’s purpose for us. We may, at times, feel hurt by someone, or frustrated about something, but it doesn’t help to dwell on the negative. Give yourself grace for moments when you’re not at your best, but then move on. God doesn’t call us to be the judge; He alone is the judge. We are called to give grace as Christ gives us grace. We are called to love as Christ loves us.

With the mind of Christ, we are able to see joy in every circumstance. It’s been proven that it takes 21 days to create a new thought pattern or habit. It takes the same amount of time to take down a thought pattern or habit. If you create a new pattern, while removing a negative one, you are renewing your mind. We’re not called to be stagnant creatures, we’re called to be like Christ. As long as we have the mind of Christ, we can continue down the path that brings us closer and closer to Him. 

There is enough darkness in the world today, but we, as His children, have every reason to be filled with joy. 

— Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers pitcher

Matthew Boyd is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Matthew’s Increase profile here.

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