25 Ways To Pursue Joy In Christ

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

  • Elaine

    Wow! All of these are excellent suggestions; thanks so much!

    Pursuing joy can be a battle; thankful the Lord supplies all the grace we need to pursue Him.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Elaine – you consistently radiate the joy of the Lord – you bring him glory by that!

  • http://www.judahupdate.blogspot.com Briana

    What an excellent, practical list. And, I'm a list lover. :)
    And, I would add…wait on the Lord, take heart and wait on the Lord. At times when joy is absent, waiting in faith for the darkness to lift is all one can do.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Great addition Briana! Thanks.

  • MarkAltrogge

    Hey Briana, I'm sorry, I don't know what happened to your comment. I liked it but somehow accidentally eliminated it…I didn't mean to. Sorry, it was an accident.

  • Caroline

    Thank you once again for convicting us with the truth. No 13 struck me the most as i need to stop thinking of myself n whether m joyful or not.
    Needed it this mornin…

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Caroline! Yep, I need to do that as well.

  • Eric G Wan

    Thanks for all these amazing ways to pursue in joy in Christ! I'm going to post this on my wall this week.

    I agree with Caroline. No 13 was where I had to start getting over myself. It's so true for me when I was focusing on myself and my own trials and circumstances, I was the most depressed. It's one aspect from the Fruit of the Spirit that's always so overlooked.

    Coming from the worst of the depression from transitioning to university, I have learned so much to lose focus on myself and concentrate on the Lord. I had help from a brother and from reading my Bible and praying. And when we lose joy, it's so hard to get back to God until you realize that you are desperate and need God. (something from Joshua Harris's Desperate series). Paul gives us an excellent example of enduring through great suffering yet able to commit to the Lord with joy. For him to live, is Christ, and die, gain.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Hi Eric,

      I think #13 is a big one for many of us. I once saw a special where an interviewer asked people from 3rd world nations if they were happy, and most of them said, "I don't ever think about it," whereas Americans were constantly asking themselves "Am I happy?" If we can not focus on ourselves but on the Lord and others, we will be more likely to experience the Lord's joy.

      Thanks for adding your comments – we need to know we're desperate and need God – excellent!

  • http://www.amultitudeofmercies.blogspot.com Trisha

    Such biblical and practical advice. I'll be encouraging others with your list. Thank you!

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Trisha!

  • http://www.theverticall.blogspot.com Blaine

    #'s 13,22 & 23 are especially meaningful…thank you!

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Blaine!

      I wanted to include under those suffering to pray for the persecuted church as well.

  • David Wilson

    Mark,

    Thanks for the helpful and thoughtful suggestions. There's joy to be had … but sometimes we have to fight for it.

    Dave

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Dave,

      Yes, I sure wish it was easier at times…..

  • Pingback: Monday Links and Bullets 3.14.11 « pastorkevinb

  • Pingback: The Blazing Center – 25 Ways to Pursue Joy in Christ | ericgwan

  • http://www.christinahastings.com/blog Christina Hastings

    That was very helpful having such specific praises listed. Thank you! Though I'm not sure about the coffee part… ;-)

    Like the comments above, #13 caught my attention. I think it would be very interesting if you did a blog post on the idea of how to not be caught up thinking about ourselves, but at the same time be aware of where we need to grow spiritually and obey God's command to examine ourselves.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Christina! And thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely keep it in mind as a possible future post.

  • elizabeth

    "5. Thank God for your temporal blessings: your spouse, kids, health, sight, food, strength, home, computer and coffee."
    I'm curious why singleness is not on this list? If God has designed for me to be single, I want my brothers and sisters in Christ to exhort me to be thankful for it. Since I deeply struggle with this, I need to be encouraged to be thankful for it. (This comment is made in a "pondering" spirit, not in a bitter cynical one.)

    • MarkAltrogge

      Hey Elizabeth, You are absolutely right – a complete oversight on my part – I'm going to add it in. There are many blessings to being single – obviously Paul considered being single a gift from God.

  • Bob

    Hey Mark,
    I noticed how many of these have to do with thanking / praising God. You have been a great example of these! Adversely, doesn't it seem that ungratefulness / complaining / discontentment seem to rob us of joy?

    • MarkAltrogge

      I agree Bob, ungratefulness, complaining and discontentment DEFINITELY rob us of joy. One reason is because we are believing that some thing or person or circumstance that we don't have will make us happy.

  • Vickie

    Mark,
    Thank you for all those positive thoughts this morning. I usually get up the read God's word and pray but needed to catch up on some emails. I think I need to print this off and take it to work and keep on my desk.
    And oh, ditto on the coffee. I am always thankful for that; mine includes flavored cream and whipped cream. :)
    Have a great day in Christ; thank youu again for the inspiration.
    (I hope you don't delete mine like you did Brianna's) Just kidding!

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Vickie! Though I don't use flavored cream and whipped cream that sounds like extra reasons for thankfulness. And I won't delete your comments – hopefully. Although with my techno skills anything could happen.

  • Pingback: Pursuing Joy « Words of Grace

  • Pingback: Ways to increase your joy « Strengthened by Grace

  • Pingback: Questo e Quello « europeanne

  • Pingback: Random Links and Stuff – Week 1 « CCadults

  • Loraine Gilchrist

    Quite a few of those suggestions where really meant for me today ! Thank you so much ! We so need reminding of these things when we get so entrenched in what is not happening in our lives that we want to happen. We have so much to look forward to. The Lord knows the plans He has for us but His timing is not always our timing.

  • Pingback: The Pursuit of Joy « Three Passions

  • Pingback: 25 ways to stoke your joy (even if it is low) | Strengthened by Grace