Living to God's glory True joy and happiness Trusting God

How To Cultivate A Spirit Of Joy

When is a time you’ve felt really happy recently? Pause for a minute and think.                         

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Friend, I’m not sure exactly what you came up with but I’m sure you thought of a number of things!          

In fact, I’m sure most of us would be able to think of lots of happy moments from over the course of our lives… good news, doing your favourite things, even a “best day ever!!” But I wonder if you could think of any sad moments too… goodbyes, what-ifs, heartbreak. 

You see, that’s just what life is; it’s a mixture of ups and downs, highs and lows, goods and bads. We have happy moments, sad moments, frustrating moments, lonely moments, exciting moments, and just about everything in between. What if I told you, though, that there was something you could have on the bad days as well as the good days? What if I told you that, even on the tough days… the ones when you’re struggling, worn out and weary… you can still have joy?

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Let me explain. You see, contrary to common understanding, happiness is not the same as joy. In fact, they’re pretty different. Happiness is an emotion. It’s that warm feeling you get when good things happen; it’s that smile that you get when you hear the best news. But joy is something different. It’s an attitude. It’s a heart posture that you have to choose, it’s something you have to actively work at, and it’s something you can feel throughout the good and the bad. Above all things, however, joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)! 

Joy is something that lives inside of you. It plants itself like a seed deep in your heart, and, as you work at it and desire it, that seed grows into an abundant tree… its branches spread into every area of your being and its fruit becomes evident in your life. 

Our Joy is in Jesus 

Like I’ve said, joy is different from happiness. It is not a product of your circumstances in the same way that your emotions are. If something good happens in life, we feel happy and excited and pleased. If something bad happens in life we feel sad and hurt and discouraged. These things stem from our circumstances. Joy, however, is different. It is not found in our situation, but rather in Jesus!

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A great example of this from the Bible can be found in Acts 16:16-40. In this passage, Paul and Silas are in prison for casting a spirit out of a slave woman. This was right at the height of their ministry — when they were traveling, teaching, and leading people to Christ. They were busy men with plenty to do and prison was not the place they wanted to end up. That day alone, they had been arrested, publicly beaten, thrown into jail, and locked in stocks.

However, in verse 25 of this passage, we find out how Paul and Silas were spending their time in prison: ‘About midnight [they] were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.’ Even in prison, they were continuing their ministry and praising God!

This is a perfect example of two people finding their joy in Jesus. Nothing had gone their way, they were hurt and most likely frustrated — but they were trusting in and praising Jesus all the same. Their hearts were full of joy because of the greatness of the God they worshiped, and nothing, not even the worst circumstances imaginable, could change that for Paul and Silas. 

We Can Have This Joy Too

Paul and Silas are great figures from the New Testament… some might even call them ‘heroes of faith’. It can be easy to look at these two men, and at the joy they had, and doubt whether we can even have that same joy, the same passion. 

Rose, I want to assure you that it IS possible for us to have this joy. It’s not easy, but it sure is worth it. We have to desire it, and we have to pursue it. We have to chase after Jesus with everything we’ve got. We have to live our lives to glorify Him, and only Him. We have to daily take up our cross and follow Him. It will be hard, but when we start to live completely and utterly for Christ, we start to notice His hand in our lives, and when we see this, we can place our joy in Him. Jesus is unwavering, and so our joy can be too!

C.S. Lewis said that ‘Joy is the serious business of Heaven.’ I love thinking about that. Everything in our lives could be going wrong, everything could be messy and upside down and pear-shaped, and yet, when we turn our eyes to Heaven and look into the face of Jesus, we can be filled with HIS joy. 

Rose, tell me, what do you think you can do to plant a spirit of joy in your life? Are there any things that could help you keep a joyful perspective even when the going gets tough?

Comment below, Roses, let’s uplift each other!

Article Written by

Megan

Megan is a faith & lifestyle blogger from England. She loves coffee (lots of it), her pup, sunflowers, and most importantly, Jesus! Her heart is for people, especially teen girls, and through her writing, she aims to encourage and uplift other young women, reminding them how loved they are by Jesus. 

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