I’m convinced joy is the key to surviving this life. A world intent on breaking us down has no answer for joy. As the great leader Nehemiah wrote several thousand years ago, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Paul recognized the importance of being joyful when he admonished believers to always rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4). It’s still true today.
No matter what comes your way, when you focus on the love of Christ, you find the strength to carry on. In fact, when you are filled with joy, the trouble doesn’t seem so bad in the first place. Joy not only provides strength when you feel weak but also perspective when you’re feeling overwhelmed. The best part is joy is both free and a limitless supply is available to us.
Joy won’t cure cancer (although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it might help!), and it won’t pay your overdue mortgage. What joy will do is give you the strength to endure the illness and to be an encouragement to others through the way you handle your disease. It will help you display inexplicable grace under extreme pressure. When life is getting the better of us, joy reminds us this is all temporary and our eternity is secure in Jesus.
Finding joy is simple. Read the Bible. Spend some quiet time in prayer. Help someone in need. Reflect on everything God has done in your life. It is impossible to think rightly about God and not feel joy. If your eyes are on Christ, joy will fill your heart. So, if you aren’t feeling joyful, I promise you, your eyes are not on Jesus. You cannot look on the Creator of everything, the One who sacrificed His life for yours, and come away discouraged. Jesus is the answer to every problem, and that knowledge will cause you to overflow with joy. You don’t have to tackle life on your own. Jesus is with you.
It sounds simple–just read your Bible and you’ll find joy. I spent enough years reading what seemed like dry portions of scripture to know there’s more to it than that. It requires a proper heart attitude. You must want to seek God. Prayer and Bible reading are not magic tricks that transform a life not willing to be changed and too proud or selfish to desire change. They are for those who hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God. Joy begins with having an appropriate view of the world and an understanding that the purpose of life is to glorify God.
Joy comes when you stop living for yourself. We’re obsessed with our own comfort, happiness, and peace. Jesus thought of others. We think of ourselves. We’ve flipped the script and wonder why joy seems so elusive. Finding joy comes down to seeking Christ. When we devote our lives to Him and we are seeking the good of others over ourselves, we will find joy. The Lord will fill us with it. I know from experience joy is more evident in my life during harder times than when everything is going great. There’s a lesson there. The more desperate we are for God, the more joy He releases into our hearts. Stay desperate for Jesus and you will never lack joy. He gives it freely to all who seek Him.