God promises his children joy, and many times he fills us with it without our asking. But at other times, especially when we go through trials, we must fight for it. Much of the battle lies in fighting to believe God’s word.
For some the battle for joy is much harder than others. Some must deal with their own tendencies to being downcast. Depression and hard, long, sad afflictions can make Jesus’ joy seem beyond reach. Yet God’s word says it’s his intent to give us his joy both in this life and especially in the next. So here are some ways to pursue joy in Christ:
1. Praise God for the cross: for his mercy and grace in saving you.
2. Thank him for all his spiritual benefits: forgiveness, adoption, the Word, spiritual gifts, the church.
3. Ask Jesus to fill you with his own joy (JN 15:11).
4. Thank him for his steadfast love that never ceases.
5. Thank God for your temporal blessings: for your spouse or for the blessings of being single, kids, health, sight, food, strength, home, computer and coffee.
6. Praise God for his attributes: his greatness, sovereignty, goodness, love, wisdom and power.
7. Praise Jesus for being a compassionate high priest who intercedes for you.
8. Thank him for all the specific good he is producing in you through trials: patience, perseverance, and faith.
9. Thank God for his past faithfulness.
10. Give to the kingdom.
11. Give to the poor.
12. Serve others (PHP 1:25).
13. Don’t dwell on whether you are joyful or not. Try to forget yourself.
14. Thank the Lord that he is making you like Christ.
15. Seek God’s presence in prayer (PS 16.11; PS 43.4).
16. Read the Word – it produces joy (PS 119.111; JE 15:16).
17. Thank God that he will never turn away from doing good to you (JE 32:40).
18. Ask others to pray for God to fill you with joy.
19. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of joy in you.
20. Confess your sins to God and ask him to restore the joy of your salvation (PS 51:12).
21. Memorize God’s promises to give you joy and ask him to fulfill them (JN 16:24; RO 14:17; 15:13; PS 4:7; 30:5; 68:3; 97:11; 126:6).
22. Consider others who have it much worse than you.
23. Pray for others who are suffering.
24. Contemplate the joys of heaven and the world to come.
25. Read John Piper’s book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy
photo by de Paula F J