Joy is God’s Will for You
Here is Step #1 in Experiencing More of God’s Joy
If You Sometimes Struggle with Being Joyful, This is for You
If you’re one of those naturally always happy people, this article probably won’t do a whole lot for you. This is for people who at times struggle to be joyful and positive (which is most of us).
Research shows that over 80% of us have to work at being positive and joyful. But especially when empowered by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, we can experience consistently higher degree of joy and positivity than before.
The absolute wonderful news is the Bible is packed with promises that all of us, even the natural skeptics and “glass half-empty people”, can significantly raise our joy level. Sometimes it can even happen with a few seconds or a few minutes.
I can’t cover all the Scriptural ways to increase your joy level in one short article, so I’ll be writing several over the next days to give you 10 different approaches, so if that’s of interest to you just look for “Joy” articles under my name, Mark Furlong.
It Starts With What We Believe to Be True
What we believe to be true is the most important factor in how we live. If we believe we are “losers” and nothing will ever work out for us, guess what, there is a really high likelihood that is what we’ll experience.
All Christians know the Bible emphasizes faith as one of the big three virtues (with hope and love). We know that some expression of faith (and there are many) is how much of God’s kingdom operates. It is also how we operate when it comes to joy.
If I believe that I cannot be joyful, it is just not my nature, or my life is so awful I can never have joy and happiness, then I’ve locked my mind and emotions into that prison. Even when good things come my way, I will have trouble seeing them or receiving them.
Godly joy has very little to do with external circumstances, it is mainly an internal state of mind and soul. When you read through the Book of Acts you see that those early believers rejoiced and celebrated even when they went through persecution and hardship for Jesus’ sake. If joy were based on circumstances, that would never have happened.
God’s Will for You is Joy
When you make the internal shift, based on God’s word, that He desires you to have joy, when you make the decision to believe those words, that opens you soul and emotions to start receiving and growing in godly joy.
There are over 400 references in the Bible with the word “joy” and other immediately related to it (rejoice, joyful, etc.). When you include just some of the other related, similar words like “blessed, celebrate, sing, shout, dance, etc. then it quickly skyrockets to well over one thousand references on joy.
The shear volume of these expressions and promises means it is a God emphasis for us.
Here are 4 joy Scriptures straight from the New Testament.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
Do you see that? Always rejoicing is just as much God’s will for you as unceasing prayer and in everything giving thanks.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace….” Galatians 5:22
God is joyful and the more we are filled with God’s Spirit, the higher our love, joy, and peace levels go.
“The kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
One of the biggest descriptors of living in God’s kingdom is meant to be “joy”.
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11
Are you seeing this? Jesus said that it is His will that we actually have His joy in us, and that our joy level would be full. When something is full, there is room for no more of it. This is so encouraging.
It is God’s will, His plan that we are filled with the joy of Jesus Himself.
What if You’re Feeling Depressed?
If you are dealing with chemical depression, I realize that is something that often requires medication or God’s healing power or both.
And I understand if you are feeling really down right now that simply reading these words might not lift your spirits, especially if you’ve been down for a longer period of time.
I’m not asking you to shove those feelings down and pretend they don’t exist. What I am asking you to do is to open your soul as wide as can in this moment, even if you’re so hurt that you can only open it a little to the Person who saw so much value in you that He was willing to take your place and die for your sins.
Come to the place of perfect love and acceptance in Jesus, in your weakness or fear or anger or whatever has dragged you down.
Read those promises, pray those promises, and as best you can, simply say, “Yes, God. Your words are true even if I’m not feeling them right now.”
You don’t have to make yourself “feel” happy. Simply pray those Scriptures with as open a heart as you can, and let them begin to work in you.
The word of God is powerful, living, active, and if you will simply, humbly, say “Yes, Lord” to His words they will begin to work in your soul.
When You Can, Say “Yes” With the Faith You Have
Then, as the words of God begin doing their life-giving work in your soul and begin to light the fire of hope, peace, and love that go hand in hand with joy, you can take the next step of praising Him for His promise before you actually feel it.
This is part of the faith journey. We thank God, His word is true, when our feelings are telling us something else. This is the good fight of faith, and it is one we really can win because our faith is in a good and powerful God, not in our limited willpower and determination.
With whatever level of conviction you can; even if you are feeling nothing, begin to thank God that His word is true and that His joy is His will for your life. Then simply let the word of God work in your soul.
On occasion it is like a hammer that breaks the depression quickly. Most often it’s more like a seed growing or medicine that heals over time.
If you’re not in a deep, dark hole; you’re just going through a challenging or scary time, you can move into thanking God that joy is His will and that you have His joy inside you right now.
This will get you moving in the joy of Jesus direction.
As best you can, read those “joy” Scriptures and say, “yes” to them.
We’ll be covering much more in the next articles.
If you want more free resources on living the Jesus-Centered, Jesus-Empowered Life check out www.TruVineMission.com
Want personalized support in clarifying and then accomplishing your God-given purposes then take a look at www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com