All too often as Christians, joy is lacking in our lives. A keen observer of Christians once said,
“Christians seem to have a religion that makes them miserable. They are like people with a headache. They don’t want to get rid of their heads, but it hurts to keep them.”
We who should have the most joy often find ourselves lacking it the most. Am I the only one, or does anyone else have a deficit of joy in their lives at times? We need the fruit of joy in our lives but how can we experience joy in our lives?
3 ways to experience joy in our lives
1. We experience joy in our lives when we look beyond our current situation.
We all go through times in our lives when we are facing some very difficult situations. It could be a financial crisis, it could be an illness, a loss of a loved one, a loss of a job, a failed marriage; but we can still have joy. James turns the tables on those who would have self-pity about the rough times in life that they face.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2
In other words, consider these things with joy because God is using them to make you stronger but also because you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We know that things won’t always be this way. There will come a time when death will not exist, when pain will be non-existent and when all hurt will disappear. We can draw on that promise and take joy in it regardless of our current situation and circumstances.
2. We experience joy in our lives when we participate in the work of God.
Abraham Maslow once said,
“I have found that every person who was sincerely happy, radiantly alive, was living for a purpose or a cause beyond himself.”
There is great joy to be found in living and working for a purpose that is bigger than ourselves.
The greatest work that we can ever do is the work of God. The whole idea of God giving salvation to us by His Son Jesus dying for our sins and then rising from the dead three days later, defeating death is mind-boggling.
What’s even more mind-boggling that God chooses us, gives us the responsibility, of telling this message to others and helping them to accept this salvation. We get to do that! We get to point people to Christ! We get to help reunite people with their Heavenly Father and their Creator! That’s exciting! How can we not find joy in this?!?
George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying,
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; then being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, and being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Our lives are going to be used up in some way. I encourage you to decide to use it by participating in God’s work, a purpose much bigger than yourself. A purpose that will bring joy to your life.
3. We experience joy in our lives when we invest ourselves in others.
We have just passed the graduation season. Graduations are filled with caps and gowns and plenty of proud parents and grandparents with cameras and video cameras. I believe that the majority of the time that the parents and grandparents are happier than the graduate.
Why is that? They have invested themselves into raising, teaching and supporting their graduate from infancy. There’s a ton of satisfaction in watching people who you’ve invested yourself in succeed. There’s great joy in that.
It’s time that each of us decided that we were going to invest ourselves in others on God’s behalf. We’re going to share the gospel with those that haven’t heard it. We’re going to spend our time building people up. We’re going to work together with others in ministry experiences. We’re going to watch those people grow in their faith and succeed. We’re going to take great joy in their success.
Can you think of any other ways that we can experience joys in our lives?
RECOMMENDED READING: Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough by Kay Warren