Joy’s One Thing: Have You Got It?

Philippians 3:13-14


Choose Joy: Let go of the past and reach for your ONE THING.

We’re all in this together–brethren is a family word. Paul affirms that the playing field is level, we are all in the process of growing closer to Christ. The more we reach forward, placing confidence in Christ and letting go of the pressure of the flesh, the more fully we respond to the beckoning call of God.

So much more than a feeling, joy comes by reaching for more of Christ. It seems natural to want to pull in and stay right where we are, holding onto every bit of joy we can scrounge up, as if there isn’t enough to go around.

Then we read these in-process, on-my-way words again. Joy begins to seep in through the cracks as we realize, it’s okay.

We don't have to be there yet.

A realistic view comes as we let go of the joy stealer that we should have already arrived. These Spirit-words of Paul echo through the ages, and we receive permission to be in process. Every single one of us is not “there” yet, and joy comes anyway.

No matter how the days stack up, there is always more to learn, more to experience in this Christ-life. Out of all the things Paul did in this life, he narrowed it all down to the right priority of ONE THING.


  • ONE THING worth first place in our desires and priorities and the ceaseless-longings of our wild hearts.
  • ONE THING to fill up the doing of a life.
  • ONE THING that shines brighter than all the things a man can accomplish or accumulate.
  • ONE THING that holds the joy of mercy for every failing, need, or sin.

Whether the past holds good or bad, success or failure, only ONE THING calls us forward. Letting go of the memories, guilts, wishes, and whatever else is packed away in the suitcases of our past–we let it go. Hanging on to the past holds us back and steals joy.


Friend, join me in realizing that we can’t see to move forward if we stay focused on the past.  It’s hard to go forward when we’re walking backwards.

Looking Back Quote

If we walk into the future with eyes on the past, we trip over the rocks in our path. Staying focused on the past feeds  dissatisfaction, fuels guilt, prevents healing, stunts growth, and steals joy right out from under our unsteady feet.

It is in this responsive confidence in Christ that joy wells up and overflows.

This is what we’re after, what we long for with every unsettled, restless ache of the heart.

Joy Stealer: Running after the wrong prize.

How often we make prizes of goals we set for ourselves. Often with the best of intention, we veer slightly off course, twisting a good thing into a ONE THING. Our prize becomes the getting of God’s good gifts rather than the deep knowing of God.

Yes and yes, it is easy to prize the blessing of God rather than the presence of God. 

And isn’t it tempting to narrow our response to God’s calling to what we can do for Him? The prize in this case becomes the work we accomplish for God rather than the life we live with God. Like squinting into the wind, the prize blurs, and we begin to believe that our value is set by what we achieve for God. The relentless chase to prove our worth steals joy as we try to run a race we cannot win.

So today, let’s choose joy.

Running for the prize of the upward call

Stop running after everything but the ONE THING

that brings true joy.

In this moment, we can let go of everything that keeps us from reaching forward into Christ and into joy.  I say this to you as a reminder to myself. We can drop feelings of defeat layered with fear.  Opening our hands, we release judgment and anger and misplaced priorities.

And together we will reach. We will run forward with everything we’ve got. Reach forward not to win some prize we set for ourselves, but to know the joy of fully responding to the upward call of God.

So finally, at the end of it all, choose joy in the Lord for He is with us every step of the way.

10 Steps to Choosing Joy

These steps recap insights from Philippians 3.

Choosing Joy 10 Steps

Finally…choose joy.

Thanks so much for joining me in discovering the power of choosing joy. If you missed any posts in this series, you can catch up right here:

Finally…Choose Joy.

Choose Joy: Let Go of Joy Stealers

Joy in Knowing: Choose Christ and Receive Joy

More Than a Feeling


What one thought about joy means the most to you?

Joining the joy of community with Holley, Jennifer, Lyli, Beth, Barbi, and Deb.





  1. Not looking back is so hard some days but God meant for life to be so much more. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! Visiting from Holley’s today.

    • Ginger Harrington

      So glad you stopped by. I like the way you point out that God meant for life to me so much more than being stuck in the past. Grace and peace to you today.

  2. So many great points, Ginger. My favorite: “The relentless chase to prove our worth steals joy as we try to run a race we cannot win.” That chase is relentless, tiring, and downright frustrating. Therein lies the joy of finding our worth in Him alone. 🙂

    • Ginger Harrington

      I feel like God was teaching me as I wrote and that line was one I’m sure that didn’t come from me! Thanks for taking time to visit today, Cathy!

  3. Choosing Joy with you, my friend! We are neighbors over at Jennifer’s place today! How fun is that?

    • Ginger Harrington

      Yay! This is my first time participating in Jennifer’s link up. I recently got one of her books and am looking forward to reading it. Blessings friend!

  4. “it is easy to prize the blessing of God rather than the presence of God. ” this is so true, Ginger! We humans get so caught up in stuff; having stuff, doing stuff, etc. Thank you for these grace-filled and JOYfilled thoughts today, Ginger! I will have to take the time to go back and read the rest of your series. Good “stuff” 🙂

  5. The blessing of children helps keep the view of joy forward … for they need a future that guides them to joy, love, peace, patience and always having faith and hope. As stated before thanks for all you have given me to keep the goal in front!

    • Ginger Harrington

      I bet that baby is A-Dore-able! Your recent email meant the world to me. I appreciate it so much. Yes, children remind us to enjoy as the take such delight in the little things.

  6. Walking backward is walking blind to the future! That is some truth! We spend so much time looking over our shoulder that we don’t see the joy right in front of us. I love visiting you and learning from you! Blessings!

    • And likewise, Mary. I enjoyed sharing your post last week with others. I love the point you added to the problem of looking back and missing the joy right in front of us!

  7. I have truly enjoyed this series, Ginger. I think I mentioned before but the timing was perfect with the half-way mark of a year with my one word being JOY. I needed that reminder to choose Joy. Thank you for sharing you heart! Much love to you. xoxo

    • Ginger Harrington

      I love the way God weaves us all together. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this series. It started out as one post, and God just kept teaching me.

  8. I choose joy! So thankful to praise and worship the joy-Giver. Enjoy a wonderful weekend!!

  9. Such a relief to know we are all mid-journey! Thank you for lifting my spirit!

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