Sprout: 21 Days for the Fruit of the Spirit to Bloom in Your Life
DAY 4 OF 21
The Choice Is Yours
By Claire Jennings
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! —Philippians 4:4 NLT
I remember watching as my 10-year-old niece attempted a penalty kick in her soccer game. There wasn’t much time left on the clock, and the game was tied 3–3. She jogged a few steps, kicked the ball, and made it just over the goalie’s head. We all screamed and ran around like crazy people! The joy on my niece’s face as things went exactly how she wanted them to go is now a memory our family talks about all the time.
Would that moment have looked different had she missed the goal? Absolutely. Sometimes things don’t go how we hope for them to, or we miss the goals we are aiming for with all our strength. And if we’re honest, joy seems nowhere to be found within those moments.
I once heard a pastor say, “Joy is often the determined choice to praise God.” This tells me that while joy is sometimes felt, more often, joy is a choice. It goes beyond a fleeting feeling in a positive moment. If you were to change the word joy into a verb, it would be the word “rejoice.” As believers, the Bible instructs us to choose to rejoice in the face of difficulty. Our response doesn’t simply “happen” to us; no, we have the divinely appointed ability to choose it.
Sometimes joy comes naturally, but other times we have to muster it up from deep within our souls and spirit. Joy stems from knowing who God is rather than who we are or what is going on around us. I remember telling a friend about an uncomfortable new season I was stepping into and not knowing which direction to pursue. She looked at me with a smile and said, “God is good! Aren’t transitions fun?” I smiled, and she prayed with me. I walked away from that moment, knowing I had desperately needed to hear my friend’s words. Through the power of the Holy Spirit inside of her, she found joy in difficult situations, and she was encouraging me to do the same. My friend taught me how to rejoice even when I felt so unsure about the future. She showed me how to look at my situation and choose joy.
I encourage you to dig deep today. Decide that today truly is the day the Lord has made, and you will rejoice and be glad in it (see Psalm 118:24). Fill in the blank of whatever circumstance you are facing and depend on God for the courage to rejoice in the face of it. The way to do this is by knowing and trusting who God is.
If you are struggling to find joy today, ask the Holy Spirit these questions and then write down the answers you hear:
- Who is God?
- How much does He love me?
- Has He given me the strength to choose joy today?
Ask the Lord to help you, and be prepared to be amazed as you watch Him fill you with supernatural joy from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes.
Lord, You are my source of joy. I know You care for me better than anyone else ever could. Thank You that I can always count on You. Help me to lean into the Holy Spirit and experience the joy that You so freely offer–even in moments when I don’t feel it. I know Your plans for me are good, and today I choose joy over the other feelings I am experiencing. I fix my eyes on You, and I rejoice in your faithfulness today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Reflection
- Find four Scriptures you can reference when you need joy and put them in an accessible place (lock screen on your phone, notecard on your bathroom mirror, etc.). The more you read and recite these verses, the more the truth of God’s Word will bring joy into your heart even when you don’t feel it.
- Ask the Lord to help you find joy in the moments you need it each day. Declare joy over yourself, and watch the difference it makes in every area of your life.
About this Plan
This 21-day devotional is packed full of biblical truths and encouraging stories about how the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your life....
We would like to thank Gateway Church for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: https://gatewaydevotions.com/