You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound. PS 4.7
Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? If so, God’s will is that you experience deep, abiding joy in him.
A joy that comes not from the world but from the presence of the One who is the fountain of all true joy. Scripture tells us we will all experience affliction, sadness and seasons where joy seems distant. But God’s will for us is that we know his joy both in this life and ultimately at the incredible, amazing, infinitely joyful marriage supper of the Lamb.
Satan wants to rob us of joy. As he did in the garden, he lies and tells us that sin is the way to joy and happiness. He wants us to believe that God is holding out on us; that the forbidden fruit of sin will fulfill and satisfy us and make us happy.
God doesn’t hold out on us. God’s will is that every one of his children experience his joy:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. RO 14:17
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. IS 55.12
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. RO 15:13
It is God’s will that his children experience his joy both in this life and ultimately, forever in his presence in heaven. So how can we experience more of the joy of the Lord?
First of all, keep your focus on the Lord. Keep your thoughts and hopes on him.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure. PS 16:8-9
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy; PS 16.11
The first way to keep our focus on God is to spend time in his word.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Ps 119.105
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; PS 19.8
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” JN 8.31-32
Scripture is full of promises that give us hope and joy. I try to begin most days by spending a few minutes memorizing Scripture, then reading or listening to the Word. A few minutes in God’s word on a daily basis is better than reading for an hour once a month.
Ask God to give you joy in him
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. JN 16.24
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. LK 11.9
God’s will is that our joy in him be full. Again, this doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer in this life. But God wants to give us a joy that goes deeper than our pain. So ask our Heavenly Father to give you joy in him. God doesn’t tell us to pray just so he can watch us perform some vain exercise. He tells us to pray because he intends to answer our prayers. God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t lie when he tells us to ask and we will receive.
Seek to cultivate the habit of thankfulness
Regularly thank God for his spiritual blessings
Thank Jesus for saving you, for dying on the cross in your place, for washing away all your sins. Thank our heavenly Father for adopting you as his child, for giving you an eternal inheritance in Christ. Thank him for filling you with the Holy Spirit. Thank him for creating good works for you to walk in. Thank him that his steadfast love never ceases, that his mercies never come to an end, that they are new every morning (La 3:21-23).
The more you can thank and praise God throughout the day, the more your joy in him will increase.
Thank God for your material blessings, for everything you can think of to thank him for. Thank him (if you have these things) for your family, your health, your strength, your eyesight, your hearing, your taste, etc. Thank him for your home or apartment. Thank him for letting you live in a nation where you are free to worship him without persecution. Thank him for providing for you.
A few months back I was in a local grocery store and I noticed that no one looked happy. Everyone seemed to be glumly pushing their baskets through the store. Then I looked to my right and saw a whole aisle dedicated to nothing but pets. A whole aisle full of dog food and cat litter and pet stuff. I thought, “I am living in a nation that is so rich that whole aisles of stores are devoted to providing for pets. Everyone in this store should be beaming with joy.”
Practicing thankfulness will help produce joy in your life.
Seek to abide in Christ by keeping his commandments.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. JN 15.9-11
We abide in Christ’s love by seeking to obey him; by keeping his commandments. As we do, we experience more and more of Christ’s joy. However, if we sin, if we look to the flesh to give us joy, we will find ourselves robbed of joy, for sin kills joy, though it promises just the opposite.
Cultivate joy by looking for ways to serve others – and ask Jesus to help you serve with joy
Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” MT 20:28
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. PHP 2.3-4
All of God’s commands are for our joy. When Jesus emptied himself and became the ultimate servant, giving his life for us, it was for his infinite joy and our eternal joy. God commands us to be servants for our joy. When we serve others, we aren’t focused on ourselves, at least we shouldn’t be. Again, we need to pray that Jesus will help us serve others with joy. Serving others may not necessarily feel joyful at the time, but we will reap joy as the fruit of serving.
Cultivate joy by giving to the poor
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” LK 6.38
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. PR 14.21
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 CO 9.6
When we give to the poor we will certainly reap spiritual rewards. But I believe the Lord blesses us in this life also. He meets our material needs and he also blesses us with joy. He prospers us in many ways – not necessarily financial – but he will not fail to bless us when we are generous to the poor.
It is God’s will for us that we experience his joy. Look to him and not to this world to give you joy.
Scripture tells us we will all go through trials of many kinds. But in good times and bad, look to the Lord for joy, and not to the world.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It grows, like earthly fruit, over time as we focus on the Lord and spend time in his presence, abide in his word, cultivate thankfulness, pray for joy, serve others, and give to the poor.
Lord Jesus, please fill us with your joy today. Help us to rejoice in you and all you have done for us. Help us to keep our focus on you today and every day of our lives.