How to Cultivate and Experience Christian Joy
What is Joy?
To enjoy life is to take delight and pleasure in living. But we need to be careful not to confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is based on our feelings, the circumstances of our life, and how people respond us. It originates from the outside, so if got news that my son was awarded a full scholarship to college, I would be extremely happy.
In contrast, and opposite to the scenario described above, I could be in the midst of challenging circumstances, and still, have a sense of joy. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances for it originates from the inside.
This joy comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ and is available for all the situations of life that we might face. Charles Spurgeon, the nineteenth-century British minister, maintained that joy is a critical ingredient in the Christian's life, and as such "the Christian joy needs looking after." In his book, , Spurgeon shows how to receive joy that will remain despite the circumstances. God's Joy in Your Heart
Spurgeon explained that Jesus is concerned about our present state, that is, that our joy might be full (1 John 1:4). Our joy rests on what is revealed to us in the Scriptures about Jesus Christ.
Take some time to meditate on the verses that describe the basis of the Christian joy below. As you read and meditate on this Scriptures, ask God to give you a revelation of true joy, so that you experience its reality. Listen to the song, God Will Make a Way sang by Don Moen in the video below. No matter what the circumstances in our lives are, we know that our loving Father will make a way, so we can be joyful!
Poll: Jubilant Joy
How often do you experience deep joy?
Don Moen: God Will Make Way
Bible Quotes About Joy
Many verses in the Bible focus on joy and rejoicing. Set aside time in a quiet place to meditate on the following verses until they become reality in your heart:
- 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, ESV).
- Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10, NLT)
- You haven't done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy (John 16: 24, NLT).
- Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice! Philippians 4:4, NLT)
- Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines ... yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3: 17, 18, NIV).
- When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15: 10, 11, NLT).
- But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5: 22, 23, NLT).
What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.— 1 John 1:3 - 4, ESV
Former Agnostic Dr Carolyn Weber Reflects on Joy, the Christian's Secret Weapon
Reflections on Joy
Deep joy can become a reality to all Christian believers as we gain an understanding of the Word of God, and what it says about joy.
- Joy comes from God. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5 22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. So for believers, joy is already available in our spirits through the Holy Spirit.
- We experience and maintain joy through meditation on God's Word. As we meditate on God's Word, we gain confidence in God that brings deep joy. Joy comes through the assurance of God's love and faithfulness that is found in his Word.
- True joy and contentment comes from faith in God. Faith comes by hearing God's Word (Romans 5:10:17)). Faith does not depend on our circumstances but rests only on what God says. This results in abounding joy even in adversity, because we are standing on God's Word. We are not dejected, powerless, and sad because the joy of the Lord is our strength! (Nehemiah 8:10).
- Praise and thanksgiving stir up the joy we already possess. As we spend time praising God, joy wells up from our spirits (Psalm 71:23). We stir up the fruit of joy that is within us through praise and thanksgiving. Praising God for what he has already done, his gift of salvation, brings joy. We also praise him for who he is, for his goodness, and what we expect him to do in our situation,
- Joy comes through relationship with God. Joy emanates from our spirits, and it is through our spirits that we relate to God. So it is through abiding in Christ that we experience continued joy. Abiding joy does not come and go. Jesus, in his discourse on abiding in him, said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you" (John 15: 11, NIV).
- Jesus Christ is our role model. The Bible describes Jesus' attitude of joy when faced the cross, and instructs us to follow his example, "by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne" (Hebrews 12:2, NLT).
Dr. Carolyn Weber, in the video above, sees joy as the Christian weapon. It not about making people think things are always okay, for joy is not dependent on our circumstances. She points out, however, that there are people who experience jubilant joy even in situations of extreme adversity. Joy is their weapon against the challenges.
Prayer for Experiencing Christian Joy
Heavenly Father, I thank you that your joy is my strength, and I can experience the fullness of your joy. Today, I pray that my heart might be enlightened so that I can experience your joy in all areas of my life. Help me to have full assurance and confidence in you so that my joy might be full. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Moving Forward with Joy!
The Apostle Paul suffered immensely for the faith, yet he encouraged believers to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4, NIV). You too, can move forward with confidence, and experience the joy of the Lord as your strength in all of the situations of life. No matter what, "overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us" (Romans 8: 37, NLT). .
As you continue to meditate on God's Word, the eyes of your heart will be enlightened to know the hope for which God called you (Ephesians 1:18). Then as you receive a revelation of his love, faithfulness, and provision, jubilant joy will flood your heart!