, , , , , , , ,


I can count on God. God sees the whole picture and pulls it all together for me.

I rely on the direction that Jesus points me to. There is nothing complicated about it at all. Jesus is reliable. We all know it to be true.

  • Following Jesus gives me joy and pleasure.
  • God’s way is like that.

The law of Yahweh [the Lord] is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of Yahweh [the Lord] is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of Yahweh [the Lord] are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of Yahweh [the Lord] is clean, enduring forever; the rules of Yahweh [the Lord] are true, and righteous altogether.

ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Psalm 19:7–9

We have good news! Want to know how to be saved? Click here or here for more.

Joy is something we all long for but that often seems difficult to grab hold of. Experiencing joy should be a part of every disciple’s life. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced by God’s work in us, and it is part of God’s will for us.

I know that even the most mature of God’s people experience periods of joylessness. For instance:

  • Job wished he had never been born (Job 3:11).
  • David prayed to be taken away to a place where he would not have to deal with reality (Psalm 55:6–8).
  • Elijah, even after defeating 450 prophets of Baal with fire called down from heaven (1 Kings 18:16–46), fled into the desert and asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:3–5).

If these men struggled, how can we experience consistent joy in the discipleship life?

The first thing is to realize that joy is a gift from God. The root word for joy in the Greek is chara, which is closely related with the Greek charis for “grace.” Joy is both a gift of God as well as a response to the gifts of God. Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace and relish His favor.

It’s evident that one way to experience joy is to focus on God. Rather than dwelling on my difficulties or those things robbing my contentment, I can dwell on God. This is not to say we should deny our discontent or stuff negative emotions. Following the example of many of the psalmists, we can pour out our hearts to God. We can tell Him bluntly all the things that ail us. But then we submit those things to Him, remember who He is, and are happy in Him. Psalms 3, 13, 18, 43, and 103 are good examples.

The book of Philippians has much to say about joy, even though Paul wrote the epistle from prison. Philippians 4:4–8 gives some guidelines for experiencing joy in the discipleship life:

Rejoice in the Master always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . . The Master is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Bonus Content: Check out this supplemental content about joy. It adds context to this article. If you like it, please consider subscribing to the channel on YouTube.