The Inner Choice of the Heart

I spoke with a friend I had not seen in years. She said, "I'm 74 and I work at WalMart to pay expenses, but that's all right. I'm able and I enjoy it. I'm happy."

Some become bitter as they grow older; others whose lives are harder, have a happy spirit. The difference rests in the inner choices of the heart. We can accept God's grace or choose to be discontent and unthankful.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" wrote James (1:2). We can bear a trial with a spirit of stoical endurance or we can look to the Lord to give us a spirit of victorious joy maintaining faith and confidence that God is in control.

Sometimes we need to determine to do what we would do if we felt joyful rather than allow circumstances to control how we feel and act. In fact, frequently scripture tells us to rejoice, as though it is something we can and should do no matter how we feel. "Be joyful always," Paul wrote as though it is possible. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

King David wanted to ensure that the leaders would bring the ark to Jerusalem with joy so he told the leaders to appoint singers to "sing joyful songs" (1 Chronicles 15:16). They were carrying the ark--the symbol of God's presence and it was to be done with joy.

We, too, are carriers of His presence if His Spirit lives within us. Those who reflect Him best are those with a joyful spirit.

Dear Jesus, help me to live with Your Spirit of joy evident in my life.

"My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul" (Psalm 108:1).