Oh Christian, Where is Your Joy!?

Oh Christian, Where is Your Joy!? March 27, 2019

There is strength in being filled with joy, and to help you be filled with joy, here is a study on helping you find the joy again.

Joyless Christians

For some reason, some of the saddest people on the planet may be Christians. I can’t understand why they’ve lost their joy, unless their joy was dependent upon circumstances, and if they lost their joy due to that, then they don’t have that deep, abiding joy found only in the Lord. They are basing their joy on how the day goes or what’s going on in their life. This kind of joy is fleeting, and it’s not from the Lord but dependent upon the moment, but joy is a source of strength for us when we need it, but it’s also something we must choose. Just like we can learn to be content (Phil 4:12), we can learn to be joyful, and the Scriptures can help us do that. In fact, God will supply the joy as we shall see.

The Source

If the source of joy is dependent upon circumstances, then our joy will come and go like the morning mist. Our joy will depend on how the day goes, but a believer has every reason to be full of joy, but we are not the source of true joy. The psalmist says, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalm 4:7). There is great strength in joy. No one wants to be around someone who is constantly complaining or whining. After Ezra read the Law of God before the people, they wept, but Ezra said, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh 8:10). The source of our joy is the Lord, and this joy is a resource for strength, so we may be at our weakest when we have no joy at all. Here’s how to tank up on the joy of the Lord. The psalmist wrote, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). That ought to fill your cup with joy.

The End in Mind

I don’t really like traveling that much and was probably one of the kids that kept asking, “Are we there yet,” but we were able to endure the traveling by placing our minds on the destination. In other words, if we can live with the end in mind, we can better endure today. The Bible says that some sweet day “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21:3). Believer’s also look forward to the day when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4). Living with the destination in mind, we can endure today’s trials. James wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). The Apostle Peter desires our focus to be on the day of His return, writing, “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 Pet 1:8). Jesus’ imminent return ought to fill us with joy! Jesus encouraged the disciples by them “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). The fullness of Joy is found only in Christ, but this joy also comes from Christ, so it is not originated in the human heart. Humans may be joyful at the birth of a child, but this joy eventually wears down after the hard work of caring for the child begins, however the joy of the Lord endures forever. That’s why we should “give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).

A Choice

We can choose contentment. So says the Apostle Paul, writing, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil 4:12). He had to learn the hard way…from the experience of suffering, but his eyes were on Christ and not on the moment. Paul learned contentment because he chose to learn it. It’s the same thing with joy. Joy is a choice. Besides, we’re better off being in a state of joy since “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov 17:22). After the disciples learned Jesus was going away, He told them, “you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). Not long after this, they did rejoice after seeing Him raised from the dead, so Scripture tells us that a permanent, abiding joy only comes from God, and from knowing Christ, but we must also choose joy by choosing to abide in Christ and His Word. “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). To say “let us rejoice” means we must allow ourselves to rejoice. We’re not helpless victims of life’s circumstances.

Conclusion

I plead guilty.  There are times I’ve lost my joy, but if we count our blessings and write them out one by one, we should end up with several pages to reflect upon. One blessing is that God forgives and forgets, and “his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Perhaps the greatest joy of all is being used by God to save souls. There is no greater joy than the joy of a soul-winner, with the understanding that God alone saves, but what a privilege to be used by Him to rescue the perishing. That’s the same kind of joy in heaven when someone is saved. Jesus said that “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Listen to Jesus: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Many have lost their joy because they’ve based their joy on circumstances, but the joy of the Lord is from the Lord; it is our strength. “[T]he kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). The Holy Spirit or God Himself is the giver of joy, but we still have a choice to make, so I say choose joy.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Christian Crier or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.


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