Not a Choice, But a Gift: Cultivating Joy in His Presence

Not a Choice, But a Gift: Cultivating Joy in His Presence


Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Have you ever been encouraged to “choose joy” during challenging times? This saying is often used to remind us that joy is a decision we can make, regardless of our circumstances. However, I’d like to offer a different perspective: joy is not merely a choice but a gift from God.

This passage tells us that joy, like the other fruits of the Spirit, is a natural outcome of a vibrant relationship with God. Just as a fruit tree doesn’t willfully produce fruit but does so naturally when it’s healthy and well-nourished, joy in our lives springs forth from within when we spend time with Jesus. It’s intrinsically linked to our relationship with Him.

Because of this, joy isn’t something we can manufacture on our own. Instead, it’s a deep gladness that arises from the core of our being, regardless of our circumstances. It’s a gift bestowed upon us as we walk closely with God.

While we don’t directly choose joy, we do make the decision to cultivate an environment in our lives where the Holy Spirit can grow this joy. This cultivation process involves prayer, reading the Word, wholehearted obedience, and a heart of worship. These actions create a fertile ground for joy to flourish.

This perspective on joy simplifies the process of cultivating it in our lives. It’s not about our ability to always make the “right” choice or about forcing ourselves to feel something we don’t. We can release any guilt or shame associated with not “choosing” joy, especially when facing trials and challenges. These difficulties often play a crucial role in nurturing our relationship with God, which in turn leads to more joy.

Today, remember that joy is not the result of our efforts but a gift from the Spirit. Let go of any self-imposed pressure to “choose” joy and instead focus on nurturing your connection with God. Embrace joy as a gift from the Spirit and trust Him to cultivate it within you.


How has the perspective that joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit, rather than something you must choose, affected your approach to cultivating joy in your life? 

What specific actions or practices help you create an environment that allows the fruit of joy to flourish in your relationship with God?