Every year before the holiday rush, I try to be very intentional about maintaining an atmosphere of peace and joy in my life. When I was younger, I used to allow the busy schedule of cultural expectations to actually prevent me from enjoying the most celebrated season of all–Jesus’ birthday! Now, I take the time to ask myself one important question: “Am I experiencing joy?”
You see, when the angels went to the shepherds to declare the birth of Jesus, they said specifically that His birth would cause “great joy” to all people!
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people‘” (Luke 2:10 NIV) (emphasis added).
So if I’m not experiencing the joy of Christ, it’s not because Jesus didn’t do His job. We can know for sure that Jesus atoned for the sins of the world because we have the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit finding residence in our hearts is proof that Jesus’ finished work on the cross was successful!
Therefore, if there is a lack of joy in my life, the problem is hidden somewhere in me. What is robbing the fullness of my joy this year? What can I change in my thinking to allow the joy of the Lord to permeate my heart? Has any corrupted belief system stolen the joy that is rightfully mine in Christ?
This year I examined my heart and identified what was stealing some joy in my life. The Bible says that we become a “new creation” in Christ. And I realized that I wasn’t fully embracing the person who God designed me to be. I wasn’t being purposeful about discovering who I am in Christ and finding joy in His wonderful design.
Sometimes I think I focus on how God created everyone else, and I neglect the person that I’m becoming in Him. It is not selfish to want to know who we are in Christ. In fact, it would be hard to accomplish all the great things God has for us if we don’t know ourselves. I not only want to know who I am, but I want to find joy in it!
I choose to be excited about the simple attributes of my personality and the unique qualities of my life, so that the joy of the Lord will always be apparent in my words and actions. This Christmas I will find peace in how God created me, so I can rejoice the birth of my savior with my one-of-a-kind shout of joy!
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV).
This devotional is published at the Internet Cafe!