Rekindle Your Joy
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
Have you ever noticed how joylessness can sneak up on you?
It’s not like you wake up one day with some pronounced depression that you just can’t seem to shake. No, it starts off slowly. It begins with a subtle chipping away at your heart and mind, and often you don’t realize it.
Does this sound like you?
- You begin your day with a big sigh instead of welcoming the presence of God.
- You rush around anxiously performing your daily routines and forget to have that quiet time with God.
- You realize halfway through your day you haven’t prayed to God at all, and when you do pray, you sound an awful lot like the grumbling and complaining Israelites in the Old Testament.
- You continually focus on the negative aspects of your life instead of remembering the greatness of a Heavenly Father who truly does answer prayer. Thus, your day is filled with doubt, hopelessness, depression, and even anger rather than hope, peace, and faith.
- When good things do happen, you don’t thank God. You resist the urge to relax and be happy. Instead, you wait for the other shoe to drop, or you deem that good thing mere coincidence.
You can go to church and put on that happy face, pray for the sick, claim that you are "blessed" to those who ask how you are doing, or diligently work for some Christian ministry and be completely unaware of this habit toward heaviness. You might even call it being a realist or chalk it up to playing devil’s advocate or even kid that you are simply a bit of a cautious skeptic – but that negativity is creeping into your soul nonetheless.
Now, I am a fairly joyful person naturally. I love to laugh and smile and dance around the room. But when I give in to discouragement, when I begin to focus on those unresolved conflicts, when I concentrate on areas that are out of my control and I am unsure of God’s will, when I forget who God is in my midst, I can become downcast. And it takes the life-giving words from a fellow believer and the life-changing Word of God to pull me out of the pit of despair.
I mentioned feeling heavy recently to a coworker, and God bless her, she turned to me at the beginning of our daily chapel service here at CBN and reminded me that I was sanguine just as she was and that we both needed to always protect that. And something in me responded with hope. That's right. God has placed joy in my heart. Yes, I need to guard my heart, the wellspring of my life (Proverbs 4:23). And then, a few moments later, Pat Robertson spoke about how the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). How true! Worry and anxiousness do not give us vitality, saints. When joy is lacking, your strength is completely sapped.
But I don’t feel happy, you say. Why fake it if it isn’t in me?
I have often erroneously thought that way, too. I don’t want to muster up something that seems dishonest. My heart is too broken to suddenly slap on a smile and “be happy.”
But this is where I think we often get it wrong as Christians. Just because we don’t initially feel joyful doesn’t mean that we can’t be joyful. That is because joy is ultimately not a feeling. Let that sink in for those of you who like me tend to live by emotions. It’s a choice, it’s a perspective, and it’s a command in the Bible.
I love this verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 because it really says it so clearly: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” This verse doesn’t say “I suggest” or “maybe you should.” It says “be.” And in case you didn’t see this the first time, note also the terms “always” and “in all circumstances.” So, we aren’t just happy when things go well. We are not just jubilant when we are getting our needs met. We don’t suddenly stop praising and thanking God because we are having a bad day. There is no loophole in this verse. Always means always. This is when we have to ask our souls, “What part of ‘be joyful always’ do you not understand?” If you are seeking to do God’s will and you are serious about it, read that 1 Thessalonians verse again.
And if you want another shock to your looming cynical perspective, sit down and read the Psalms. There is much in there about rejoicing and praising God even while circumstances are not pristine. When the psalmist King David was depressed and scared – and he had good reason to be with the responsibility of an entire kingdom on his shoulders and a guy named Saul seeking to destroy him – he continually lifted his eyes toward Heaven, knowing that the source of his life came from a good and merciful God.
An often-quoted verse of David's from Psalm 42:5-6a says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Passages of Scripture like this one show us that we can praise God, even when life is difficult.
As a reminder to you and me, I have listed some more Bible verses to study. Read them over and over again when that black cloud threatens to take over. Remember that you serve a good and gracious God who loves you unconditionally. He is faithful to complete that good work in you. Only now be joyful and watch God fulfill His promises in your life.
Get a Right Mindset
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Praise and Thank God Always
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
How to Give Your Life to Christ:
1. Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness.
2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and
rose from the grave.
3. Through prayer, confess that Jesus Christ is the only
way to God and commit to live for Him for the rest of your
What to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe
that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave
to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now
I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please
forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In
Jesus' name. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, please send
us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call our CBN Prayer
Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk
with you and send you some resources to help you begin your
walk with the Lord.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.