Four Simple Ways to Experience Joy in Life by Pastor Greg Simon
Are you ready to open the door to joy? God designed us for His joy and has promised an inner supply of joy by His Spirit. God fills us with joy that is separate from any circumstance. Even in the middle of bad news, painful relationships, or unstable economics, we can have God’s joy strengthening our actual lives.
Jesus Christ lived without much of the stuff we associate with temporal happiness. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2) and never lost His joy despite betrayal, loneliness, slander, pain, suffering, and even death. Christ displayed joy on earth and wanted His disciples to experience joy for themselves. Jesus said, “”I have told you these things so that you can have the SAME JOY I HAVE and so that your joy will be the FULLEST POSSIBLE JOY.” (John 15:11 NCV)
C. S. Lewis wrote of this joy beyond the pleasures of earth. “You might as well offer a mutton chop to a man who is dying of thirst as offer sexual pleasure to the desire I am speaking of. … Joy is not a substitute for sex; sex is very often a substitute for Joy. I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.” (Surprised by Joy)
Joy in suffering is observed as Paul and Silas are in a Philippi jail, praying and singing hymns at midnight (Acts 16:25). Later in life while in prison chains, Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always and say it again rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) God’s clear command is joy. To not rejoice is sin against God’s distinct directive.
“The bottom line for you and me is simply this: grimness is not a Christian virtue. There are no sad saints. If God really is the center of one’s life and being, joy is inevitable. If we have no joy, we have missed the heart of the Good News and our bodies as much as our souls will suffer the consequences.” (Bruce Larson, “There’s a Lot More to Health Than Not Being Sick”)
How can we have God’s joy invading our lives?
1. Experience God for yourself.
If you want joy, seek to have a genuine encounter with God. In God’s presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Once you have been with God, your world is transformed. You can experience God’s presence on a daily basis and keep yourself from melting down. Put yourself in a position where we can meet Him – read the Bible, pray, listen to God-honoring music, attend a worship service.
Enter into His presence. How about this? Spend five minutes in authentic worship – right where you are, right now. Why delay? Our joyful attitude is harnessed to the Lord’s unfailing presence. The Psalmist praised, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.” (Psalm 2:3) Joy is a by-product of life with God (Psalm 9:2; 16:5-11).
“Joy is the surest sign of the presence of God.” (Pierre Teilhard Chardin)
2. Allow God’s promises to change the way you think and and the way you live.
Find one verse to memorize, meditate, and live out. Apply God’s Word every day. Let God’s Word be the stable foundation for your life. Make the Bible the solid bedrock for your life, a stable foundation for successful living. The Bible provides security and strength for your life, but I am not suggesting just reading as a daily discipline or a historical exercise. The goal of Bible reading is NOT just to read the Bible to look good or because its expected. The ultimate goal is to let the WORD and God’s presence transform me. God’s Word produces joy.
- “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” (Psalm 19:8a NIV)
- “Your covenant laws are your gift to me forever. They fill my heart with joy.” (Psalm 119:111 NIRV)
- “I find joy in your promise like someone who finds a priceless treasure.” (Psalm 119:162 GW)
- “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.” (Jeremiah 15:16 NLT)
3. Pursue your purpose, the reason you are alive.
Be who God made you to be. “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?” (Leonard Ravenhill) Uncover the reason God put you on this planet.
Louis L’Amour was an American author famously known for his many western novels. He revealed his secret to writing so many stories, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” There is wisdom in that. Practice God’s plan for your life. Do something bigger than the mess of your current circumstances.
If you need joy in your life, tell another person of who Jesus is. Soulwinning is part of the work Christ has appointed you to do, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15 NLT) If you aren’t a fisher of people, you’ll miss out on the joy God has in mind for life.
Life is tough, but you have something in your life that is BIGGER than all your JUNK. If you don’t discover why you are breathing on this planet, you won’t be fulfilled or satisfied with life.
“The Christian owes it to the world to be supernaturally joyful. In this day of universal apprehension when men’s hearts are failing them for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth, we Christians are strategically placed to display a happiness that is not of this world and to exhibit a tranquillity that will be a little bit of heaven here below.” (A.W. Tozer)
4. Lift up your eyes beyond the trial and trust God’s process.
Allow the Lord to change your perspective. God uses dark days to develop our character. Impossibly difficult circumstances are the setting for amazing God-sized miracles that release joy.
- “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we CONFIDENTLY and JOYFULLY look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:2-4 NLT)
- “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)
- “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)
- “And God has reserved for his children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. “And God, in his mighty power, will make sure that you get there safely to receive it because you are trusting him. It will be yours in that coming last day for all to see. So BE TRULY GLAD! There is WONDERFUL JOY AHEAD, even though the going is rough for a while down here.” (1 Peter 1:4-6 TLB)
Guess what? Earth was never designed to be your stopping point. If you are thinking life on earth will bring you joy, you surely will be disappointed. You are passing through with wonderful joy ahead! There is joy still waiting for you. There’s hope for you. There’s freedom for you. There’s healing for you. There’s peace for you. There’s JOY for your life.