Choose Joy

From time to time, I share with my husband my frustrated woes of shrinking pants. Then I proceed to charmingly interrogate him on his use of coconut oil in cooking our family dinners. Because… that simply must be the explanation for the recent wardrobe malfunctions, right? It certainly couldn’t be the periodic snatching of my son’s Halloween candy throughout the day, right?

My sweet hubby defends his choices, “Babe this is ‘good oil’”. “This is ‘healthy fat’”, he says, continuing on with an extensive list of benefits. I hear him but I admit I’m not actually listening. Why? Well, one because I’m stubborn. And two, because I’d rather focus on what I choose to acknowledge. Which are probably one and the same.

You see, It’s much easier to fix my thoughts on something that’s not within my control and place the blame there. And not as easy to work on what I know to be controllable but difficult. I want to enforce a household ban on any healthy fats, but block my mid-day chocolate bars from admitted recollection.

Friends, if we can learn to consume more of what’s better for us in the long run and less of what weighs down in the moment, we can gain true freedom.

This year has seemed a bit disheartening for me, with more frequent news of those I know going through life-threatening illnesses, unexpected accidents, and some ultimately passing on. And there’s a real heaviness that those things tend to bear. Just as in biblical times, we mourn with each over the loss of people, the loss of unmet expectations, and the loss of seasons spent in sorrow.
But what we have to remember is that we are promised so much better. And we are not just promised, but guaranteed, a future of favor through the life and death of Jesus. This includes those of us still living and those that have left this earth if they knew their savior.

Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah‬ ‭61:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

He gives us his incomparable oil of joy in place of our mourning.

Oil, in biblical times and still today, is used for special and specific purposes. For instance, the anointing of one set apart for service to the Lord (1). And true joy can be described as more than an emotion; but a chosen state of gladness (2). This oil of joy that Isaiah speaks of is the unique and unchanging hope that only Jesus is able to give us. He has given us the ability to say that he is still good in the midst what seems unfair and hopeless, according to our human understanding. In return for our sorrow, he gives a solid future to look forward to. In him and only in him, can we be assured there is a better future beyond suffering for us, for our loved ones, for all that would come and kneel in his presence. This oil of joy, this confidence we are called to, empowers us to temporarily mourn, yet invariably remain at peace.

We carry the message of hope that can be found nowhere else. And we have to remember to focus on what we can control (the joy set before us) instead of the things that we cannot (the inevitable troubles of this life).

My friends, we are assured a “good oil” to consume on as we navigate our way through heartache. What do you need to take in more of today, to keep pressing forward in freedom?


  1. Messiah Yeshua Wants to Give You His Oil of Joy, The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project, accessed 17 November 2020,
  2. Barry, J.D., Bomar, D., Brown, D.R., Klippenstein, R., Mangum, D., Ritzema, E., Sinclair Wolcott, C., Wentz, L., Widder, W. (2020). The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Logos Bible [Mobile Application Software]. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife.