By Linda Tancs

Joy is the essence of a Christ-centered life. Indeed, Jesus reminded his followers that He came for us to have and enjoy life (John 10:10). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, an attribute of the Christian life (Galatians 5:22). It’s good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). So how do you acquire it? One way is to avoid fear, worry and control. What do you fear? Abandonment? Failure? Death? Fear is sometimes instinctual but often learned behavior. Paul reminds us that God did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Worry is closely associated with fear. But why worry when you can pray (Philippians 4:6-7)? As Matthew pointed out in his gospel, worrying won’t add one cubit to your life (Matthew 6:27). Another joy-robber is a need for control. Are you a control freak? Don’t be a slave to your own agenda. It’s not about you (1 Corinthians 6:19). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to advance God’s agenda, the common good, which is to look to the interests of others above your own (Philippians 2:4). Imagine how joyful you’d feel contributing to the needs of others, especially the poor and needy.

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