I have a picture hanging in my kitchen of a momma bird singing to her little baby birds all lined up in a row, and there’s a one-word caption underneath them: “Joy.” It hangs on our wall to remind me to choose joy. I don’t believe for a minute that God sent His Son to die for me so that I could become a grouchy Christian.
However, there are days when joy seems simply out of reach. Irritations mount, hearts are heavy, and trials seem long. Yet the irony is that the Bible says, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” I need God’s strength more than ever on those difficult days, but it is when I choose joy that He gives His strength.
As with much of our Christian life, joy is a decision. We choose where we set our minds and hearts each day. Isaiah 61:10 says, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God.” Isaiah made his decision. To choose joy, we must intentionally work at keeping our lives free from things that steal our joy.
Here Are Two Joy Killers to Keep out of Our Hearts:
1. Unconfessed Sin
Sin breaks our fellowship with the Lord and adds a burden to our backs that we simply weren’t meant to carry. Sin costs far more than Satan ever wants us to know. As the weight of sin robs us of our joy, we lose our strength in the Lord and the Christian life begins to feel like a burden. However, sin that is confessed and turned from is immediately and completely erased in God’s eyes. We are then freed from the burden of sin and free to live in the joy of the Lord.
The Bible tells us, “They…comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” To hold oneself to the standard of another is a joy-killing lifestyle. At the very least, comparing ourselves with ourselves is distracting. It takes our focus off of following Christ, and it turns us into nothing more than grown up “copy-cats.” Yet with time, that little distraction can turn into an idol. It now becomes the goal of every day to be known as the best mom, the best wife, the best decorator, the best cook, etc. And our image becomes our “god.” It’s just not wise to compare—joy is not found in keeping up with the lady sitting across the aisle. Joy is found in the Lord.
As we keep our lives clean from joykillers, how can we daily maintain a joyful Christian walk?
Here Are Two Ways to Keep Joy Consistently in Our Hearts:
1. Stay Close to the Lord
Our world is changing every day, and it can be frightening! How do we navigate our way through life in this day and age? Where do we find the answers to our children’s questions? How do we hold on when the world around us is spinning out of control? There’s only one way—we plant ourselves in God and His Word! David said, “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).
We have a “Rock” in Jesus—an unchanging, unmoving, indestructible God who covers us. He does not move. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Not one thing is out of His control. And in His presence is “fulness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). Don’t wander away; don’t let go of His truth; don’t go searching for joy—it is only found in Him. Stay close to Him. Fill your heart and mind with His promises daily. Listen to Him. There is fullness of joy in His presence.
2. Keep Eternity in Mind
We’re not in Heaven yet. I know we know that in our heads, yet it seems we often spend a lot of time pretending that we are. We want our mansions here. We want a life free of trouble here. We want no tears here. But it’s not quite time for that yet. Jesus told us, “In the world, ye shall have tribulation.” We can and should expect difficulties here. However, look at the rest of the verse: “…but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Our deepest hurts are only temporary. Our physical pain is only temporary. Our private tears are only temporary. Sure, there’s heartache here. No, we often don’t understand. But this isn’t the end! Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” With eternity in mind, things are looking up! Any day now, we’re going to step into Heaven, and we’ll be done with this old earth. God will make everything right and we will spend eternity with our Saviour! With an eternal perspective, we have every reason to be joyful—choose joy!