[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]J[/mk_dropcaps]ust as gasoline fuels a car, making it possible for it to run, so is gratitude the key to fueling our joy. Think about it. How many truly joyful people do you know that are ungrateful? Those that carry a spirit of joy do not walk around with an entitled demeanor. Let me pause here for a second to remind you: joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is the nature you have in the midst of a storm or victory. Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, defines joy like this:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.[/mk_blockquote]
Joy is a reverence, a pleasure and an appreciation for the gift that life is - even with all the glorious messiness that comes with it! As the author of Psalms 16:11 states,
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.[/mk_blockquote]
What both Rick Warren's definition and this verse have in common is a tone of gratitude to the Lord. Do you wish your life was more joyful? Do you wish you felt the kind of intimacy with God that knows within His presence there are “pleasures forevermore.” I sure do! What does it take to enter into the presence of God? Honor (believing He is the Lord of your life) and thanksgiving (gratitude). When we develop an ever-present attitude of gratitude we are ushered into the throne room of grace. I don’t know about you but that throne room of grace is the place I want to remain! I want my life to be inarguably surrendered to God. When others look at my life and family, I want it glaringly obvious that there is something different about it and not because of my own strength. I want others to see that my life is extraordinary, by no other explanation than the hand of God. The only way we get from where we are today to that place is to start with gratitude that grows to joy.
Are you up for a life like that? If so, then begin today by developing an attitude of gratitude. It will fuel your joy. You are hardwired to operate this way. The very structure of our brain becomes healthier when we have grateful thoughts. That is reason enough! So, go! ENJOY this crazy, beautiful mess called life God has given you to live.