There is so much joy to be known in our walk with Christ. Joy is one of the most powerful emotions. It draws people in, it motivates the heart, it is contagious! Joy is something that can transcend circumstances, because it is wrapped around our hope in Christ.
I would hate for us to get so caught up in the pain of self-denial, that we lose our joy in the process. Of course it is difficult to go against our flesh- but we are never without hope. There is always a joy in obedience, because we are honoring God, and displaying that He is worth our sacrifice. Christ laid down his life for "the joy that was set before Him." And we too can lay our lives down willingly, because we are confident of the JOY we will experience. "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory..." (1 Peter 1:8)
My prayer for today is that an inexpressible joy would well up in our hearts, that this joy would overshadow every struggle against our own desires and motivate us to keep dying to ourselves. And ultimately, this joy in us would draw people to Christ, the hope of glory.