It is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) but how many truly joyful Christ followers do you meet? Living with joy is both a gift (the Holy Spirit gives it to us) and a choice (I will choose to live in His joy). He gives the gift. We decide whether we will choose joy over pessimism, sadness or sorrow.
Unlike typical self help talk, the joy that Jesus gives is not the discipline of talking ourselves into a happy state regardless of our circumstances. Rather it is a joy based on the presence of Christ and the hope of Christ in the midst of our circumstances. He is the source of our hope and joy. He is the one who never leaves us or forsakes us (Romans 8). He is the one who promises to work His will in our lives, go before us, provide us with what we need for the day and be our advocate for the circumstances we face.
This, then is no self help "joy" but a joy based on God's presence and promises. In those days when we don't feel joy we can choose joy, knowing that it is a gift from Him. In those days when our circumstances don't dictate joy we can choose joy knowing of his presence in our circumstances.
Living with joy is choosing to see life through God's eyes and in light of His promises. It is living in His presence and remembering His promises. It is rejecting pessimism in light of God's gifts which He showers on us. It is choosing Him and hope over our circumstances and all the problems we see around us.
Joy is a wonderful gift. I choose joy today.