Who wouldn't want more joy? But many situations in life don't leave you feeling very joyful.
The good news is that the joy God gives is more than just a feeling. It is possible to experience true joy, no matter what your circumstances.
Here are some ways you can strive to be more joyful:

  • Know that God is always with you, and His presence with you is cause for celebration. Nothing on earth will ever take you out of God's presence. Not only is God with you, but He's willing to hear and answer your prayers out of His boundless love.
  • Ask God to give you His perspective on tough situations in your life.
  • Realize that even when you're weak, God's strength is at work in your life. Sometimes this is especially so, because people are often more open to inviting God to help when they reach the end of their own resources. Thank God for the glimpses of His power you can see.
  • Meditate on Bible verses and celebrate ways you have seen the principles they mention illustrated in your life.
  • Understand that joy often comes from seeing your desires fulfilled, and if your desires are aligned with God's desires for you, you will experience great joy. In prayer, surrender your desires to God and ask Him to transform them into His desires. Know that God wants you to value the gospel over the pursuit of comfort and pleasure, so decide to place your highest priority on activities that will help fulfill the gospel.
  • Realize that God's discipline is actually a demonstration of His love for you as your heavenly Father. Cooperate with God when He doles out discipline, knowing that it will ultimately benefit you. Pray for perseverance and grace to help you grow.
  • Relax in the rest that Christ offers. Embrace His unconditional love for you that frees you from constantly worrying about trying to please other people. Rejoice in your freedom to live in ways that reflect who you genuinely are, knowing that God will accomplish His purposes in your life as you follow Him.

Adapted from Joy: How to Rejoice in Any Situation from the Fruit of the Spirit Bible Studies, copyright 2001 by Phyllis J. Le Peau. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.BibleStudyGuides.com, 1-800-727-3480.

Phylis J. Le Peau is area director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Chicago West.