Count It All Joy

David CerulloBy David CerulloFebruary 1, 20238 Minutes

Why do so many believers struggle to live in the joy of the Lord? For some people, finding joy is like trying to catch a butterfly. No matter how hard they try, the butterfly seems to evade their grasp.

God is a joyful God, and since we’re His children…since we’re living in His grace and love…we should be joyful, too, amen? Having joy means we are in right relationship with our Father God. It shows that we have given Him full control over our circumstances and have made ourselves willing vessels for Him to use.

Look at Jesus’ life, and you can see this remarkable principle at work. Everywhere He went, Jesus was walking in the fullness of God’s joy and constantly giving that joy away to others.

One day as He healed a crippled woman, she stood up and began praising God (Luke 13:13). Remember that wonderful story? Or when the leprous man was healed, the man returned to Jesus joyful and “praising God in a loud voice” (Luke 17:15 NIV). There’s no question that Christ wanted to show His grace for people by bringing joy to their lives. He was empowered by the spirit of compassion and a desire to transform people’s hearts for eternity.

Yet perhaps you’re thinking, “David, I’ve experienced the joy of the Lord at times, but lately it seems to have vanished.”

I’ve got good news, my friend. Although we’ve all had times when God’s joy seemed a distant memory, we can pray the same prayer King David once prayed: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). When you come to the Lord with a contrite heart, as David did, you can be confident He will answer that prayer!

The Source of True Joy

With such a great promise about a joy-filled life, why are so many Christians not experiencing the abounding joy God offers? When the life of faith is supposed to be “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8 KJV), why are there so many downcast believers?

Entire books have been written to address this question, but the primary answer is actually quite simple: Too often, people are pursuing joy and happiness as commodities outside of an intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father. They think that if they can just change their circumstances and get what they want out of life, joy will automatically fill their heart. But it doesn’t work that way.

At the center of God’s joy is our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He is the heart of our faith and thanksgiving. Our joy begins with our surrender to Christ and letting Him transform us top to bottom into what He is.

When we have joy in Jesus, it’s absolutely complete joy within us. It’s not just a feeling of happiness we get on an occasional, emotional high. It’s “joy inexpressible and full of glory” that continues in us even when we face challenging and difficult times (1 Peter 1:8).

King David was a man after God’s own heart, and he had a keen understanding of the source of his joy: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Friend, if you’re seeking more joy in your life today, I hope you’ll let these words sink in. The only place to find lasting joy is in the presence of the Lord. Your circumstances may bounce up and down like a yo-yo, but your joy can be steadfast because of Jesus’ joy within you (John 15:11).

No wonder the apostle Paul could write, “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS” (Philippians 4:4). He knew his joy wasn’t based on his circumstances, for he was writing these words from a prison cell!

Trust and Obey

As Jesus reassured His disciples about His coming death, He said, “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22).

What better message for us as well? Joy isn’t a hat we can wear one day and leave at home the next. It’s an attitude of our heart that is always with us. It’s a mindset that is critical to a life of abundant blessings and is part of our new nature in Christ that nurtures life from within.

Joy is ours when Christ lives in us. This is why it’s vital to confess Him as Lord to receive the wonderful miracle of His presence in our lives. As Psalm 35:9 says “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation.” We’re made alive through Him when we surrender everything at His feet.

Do you remember the great old hymn that says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”? If you think about it, this is God’s objective for you today: to impact the world by being “happy in Jesus,” to be joyful and content in Him.

But it’s crucial to understand that the Christian life is not meant to be lived simply by studying what Jesus did and trying to duplicate His example in your own strength. Rather than just being a script to be read and acted out, the Christian life is Jesus living His life through you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible promises in Colossians 3:4, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Notice that Jesus doesn’t just give you life, He IS your life! That’s why the apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” 

Remember, my friend, Christ alone is your salvation. He is the firm anchor for your faith in whom you can always trust and believe. When you put Him at the center, He’ll give you joy unspeakable because of His everlasting goodness and power.

His blessings are real…and so is YOUR JOY when it’s based firmly in Him.

God Bless,