As Christians, we know we should find our joy in life in the Lord and not in material things. But what does it exactly mean and how do we do that?
Where do you find your joy in life? In doing things you like? In your hobbies? Work? Friends? Family?
They’re all good things bringing us varying levels of joy, happiness and satisfaction but they don’t last and will not give you permanent joy in life.
This verse from 1 Timothy reminds us about that.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.1 Timothy 6:17 (NIV)
The things listed above and those similar to them might come and go. What do you when that happens? Where do you find joy in life?
Ask yourself a question
I asked myself this question last year. My husband was away for two weeks, so working, spending time with my daughter and taking care of the house took up pretty much all of my time.
As a result, I didn’t have time to do the things I like. It didn’t make me happy but it also made me reflect on where my joy in life comes from.
I asked myself: if everything was taken away from me would I remain joyful? Or to make it a bit less dramatic – if I woke on any given day and couldn’t do things I normally do, or I have planned to do on that day, would I still say that this was the day that the Lord had made and I would be glad and rejoice in it?
It made me revisit my relationship with Jesus ask Him to help me find joy in Him only. I prayed, reflected and read the Bible to understand better what real joy in life actually means.
Here are my findings which I hope will help you too to understand
I’ve tried and have seen that none of the little earthly things can give lasting joy.
They satisfy some of our needs for a moment but have no real power in the long run. The truth is that only Jesus and living every day in obedience to Him will make our life permanently joyful whatever the circumstances.
“In Your presence is fullness of joy.”Psalm 16:11 ESV
What does it mean?
I don’t know if I’m able to express this clearly enough in writing but Jesus is
One of the posters I have designed is the result of my last year’s reflection.
We can keep trying to find joy somewhere else but it will not work. Knowing that Almighty God is present in our life, that He loves us, is connected to us by His Spirit is pure joy.
We cannot find and understand lasting joy beyond him because joy is spiritual. After all, it’s a fruit of the spirit, next to others like love and faithfulness.
Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of GodPierre Teilhard de Chardin
Joy in salvation
If we would like to unpack what joy in the Lord means in detail, there are many Bible verses which help us to understand this important truth.
Rejoice in our confident hope.Romans 12:12 NLT
Our salvation brings us joy. To be saved by Jesus means to have an amazing life not just here and now but
Having salvation and eternal life gives us hope. And the Bible says we can rejoice in the hope we’ve got.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Joy in the love of God
Every person on this earth, whatever they say, wants to be loved. And not just with any love – love that will pass or change, but with
God doesn’t love you less on your bad day or when you have no capacity to pray. He doesn’t love you more when you’re good or have shared the gospel with someone. He loves you, as much as you can be loved, every single day just because you’re you and because you’re his.
Can it get any better?
Well, it can!
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
So he not only loved us when we’re still sinners and sacrificed his son for us because of his love but nothing will change this. If this doesn’t make you permanently joyful then I don’t know what does.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.1 John 4:10 (NIV)
Joy in God’s protection
This world, not only in
It’s easy to feel insecure, either because of external factors like sickness or situation in the world or because of internal ones, like appearance or abilities. Yet in this insecure world, God gives us 100% protection.
It doesn’t mean that we’re problem-proofed but that, in anything that we go through, our soul and spirit is safe in the One who made us.
Joy in God’s consolation
And when, for whatever reason, we feel anxious, God is there to console us. Isn’t it great to have the Creator of the world, the Greatest ’Person’ in the world come to us, wipe our tears, encourage us and give us peace
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.Psalm 94:19 (NIV)
Joy in Bible verses
Apostle Paul summed it up in two short sentences
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
There is another well-known passage from the Bible that talks about having joy but having nothing in life but God
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)
There are many more verses in the Bible talking about joy in life and where we can find it in relation to God. Look up Isaiah 61:10, Psalm 119:14 or Psalm 9:1-2a.
The bottom line is Jesus is our one and only source of real joy. And giving us joy is God’s will for our life.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
You can have this kind of joy
If you’re thinking that you can never find this kind of joy in life, stop for a moment. A year ago, I was also struggling and it wasn’t natural to me to get my joy in life from the Lord. I relied on things.
But I knew and know even better now that Jesus gives this joy to everyone who believes in Him. You only need to ask and earnestly want to rely on Him for your joy in life.
Just by becoming Christians, we don’t automatically rejoice in Christ only. It takes commitment, time in prayer, reflection and practical application.
Trusting Jesus for joy in life will give you peace, less anxiety and will help you deal with bad days (and will reduce the number of them) and mood swings.
Joy is God’s will for our life so if you want to know how to find it in Him and him only, pray and talk to Him.
A year on and I know what’s the source of true joy and whenever I try to find joy in something else, I can redirect my course and be heading into the right direction.