All too often, it is difficult for Christians to find joy in their lives although it is something that is commanded in Scripture for us to experience. I believe this is because people mistake joy for everything going right in their lives. As all of us know though, things do not always go right for us. It is even said in Scripture that we who believe will experience suffering. An example of this is found in Romans 8:16-18.
“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs-heirs of God and coheirs with Christ-seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”
II Timothy 1:8 also says, “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.”
And I Peter 3:17 says this, “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
So, as you can see, the suffering part is well covered. What about joy then? How do we find that amidst the suffering? When I was reading my devotion earlier, it struck me that the ways I had thought about joy in the past were not the ways God wanted me to think about it. Finding joy in our lives has to be intentional. It has to be a discipline. If it’s not, we will go from circumstance to circumstance and miss out on many of the blessings God has planned for us since we will be mired in the suffering and not know how to get out of it.
God has provided ways to find joy though, and they’re all tied up in the ways we have a relationship with Him. It seems like that should have been obvious, but it wasn’t to me until I read each way spelled out.
The first way is to read Scripture. Reading and studying about God can help me find joy because it helps me to learn more and more about my Lord and Savior.
The second way is to sing. I know I should have realized this one. When I sing and listen to Christian music, my sense of peace and joy is overwhelming.
The next way is to give. I will be the first to admit this is one I struggle with. Sometimes, I give out of a sense of duty and obligation, but God doesn’t want us to do that. He wants us to have joy as we give.
Another way is to live in community as we walk with Christ and work for Christ. God doesn’t mean for any of us to walk alone. I believe this one is hard for western Christians because of our emphasis on individuality, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Meditating on God’s goodness, serving God, and just enjoying God as we worship are also ways to find joy. I never connected the ways we live in relationship to God to ways we can find joy in Him. But, I know now the next time I am in the pit and feel like joy is very distant from me, all I need to do is commune with my Lord and Savior, and my joy will come back. I invite you to join me.
God’s blessings on you today!