Most people expect joy to come from their circumstances – their work, friends, houses, kids, spouses…
But that is where the problem starts. When they are unhappy and don’t feel joyful they are too often blaming others for their unhappiness. It may be the spouse, it may be that situation at work that is so frustrating and constantly sours their mood. It really can become a miserable life with relationships that suffer because of it.
There is hope though. The Bible teaches us that our joy is not dependent on our circumstances or the people around us.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The Apostle Paul was a great example. He was in prison, being tortured, being ridiculed and persecuted; but he was full of joy.
“I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.” (2. Corinthians 7:4)
You too can experience joy that is not circumstantial but comes straight from the Holy Spirit.
5 steps for a joyful life:
1. Spend time with the Lord more regularly
I love spending time with the Lord. Problems just seem to fall away as I dwell in His presence. As you spend more time with the Lord your perspective will change. The Holy Spirit will start giving you solutions to the problems you’re facing – and all of a sudden, what seemed like a mountain minutes ago has become nothing more than a building block in your walk with the Lord.
2. Remember who is Lord over your life
Don’t let your circumstances dictate who you are or how you feel. The sovereign God sitting on the throne happens to be your dad. He is well able to carry you through hard times, or he may decide to give you the strength to walk through the situation guiding you by His word. It is my responsibility as a father to protect my daughters. God has promised to do the same with you.
3. Read your Bible
I love reading the Word of God. A single psalm can correct your perspective. A single proverb can give you more wisdom than you learn elsewhere in a week.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
– Psalm 119:105
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Don’t worry if you don’t remember every scripture you read. But just as you eat food every day, decide to read a portion of the Bible every day. You may not remember what you ate last Tuesday, but it did provide your body with the nutrients it needed. The same way you may not remember what you read last week, but it built up your spiritual being.
4. Listen to worship music
We all look forward to spending eternity in heaven. All of us have an idea of what heaven looks like, but one thing is for sure, there will be worship in heaven. Listening to worship music helps me to focus my eyes on the Lord, even if I’m busy with something. There is something about worship music that allows joy and peace to rise up inside of me. Give it a try. Put on some nice, quiet worship tracks as you go through the day. I’m sure it will have an impact.
5. Watch out for negative thoughts
Negative thoughts can kill your joy in an instant. Don’t allow negative thoughts to drag you down. I know it is easier said than done but I know that the Holy Spirit can help you to watch out for negative thoughts and take corrective measures. As soon as you notice them, make the decision to change your thoughts. Proclaim scripture, think of the good in the other person, remember that God is in control. Whatever the situation may be, with the help of the Holy Spirit you will be able to overcome it and be joyful again.
Before He was taken to heaven Jesus promised His disciples that He would send a helper that would never leave us. He kept His promise. The Holy Spirit will give you joy in every situation – if you want it.
And then you can stop blaming everyone around you for not being joyful.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.