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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Fulness of joy.


Dr. Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning, was imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II because he was a Jew. His wife, his children, and his parents were all killed in the Holocaust. The Gestapo stripped him of his clothes. He stood totally naked before them. As they cut off his wedding band, Viktor said to himself, "You can take away my wife, you can take away my children, you can strip me of my clothes and my freedom, but there is one thing no person can ever take away from me - and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me!"  Even under the most difficult of circumstances, joy is a choice which transforms our tragedies into triumph.

Let's face it, not everything goes our way. Things don't always work out as we planned. Some days are disasters. Other days are even worse!

Happiness comes easily when things go our way. Joy is different. It's deeper. Joy is an attitude we select. Happiness is external and subject to what happens. Joy is an inside job in which we determine to rejoice, regardless of the circumstances.

Don't confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is a buoyant emotion that results from the momentary plateaus of well-being. Joy is bedrock stuff. Joy is a confidence that operates irrespective of our moods. Joy is the certainty that all is well, however we feel.

Writing to the early disciples of Jesus in the city of Philippi, the apostle Paul - himself in prison - encourages them to, "Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again, Rejoice!" (4:4; NLT).  

Joy is a divine dimension of living that is not shackled by circumstances simply because we have chosen to respond in a positive manner.  Paul is saying that joy is not something that happens to me but rather something I deliberately and consciously select!  Circumstances seldom generate lasting smiles and laughter.  Joy comes to those who determine to choose it, in spite of their circumstances.

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