Seven Tactics to Win Back Your Joy
By Thomas Lindberg
Someone is robbed every 55 seconds in America, according to
experts. And the stats for identity theft are even higher! But listen, there
are thieves who try to steal your joy even more often.
Shortly before He died, Jesus said to His disciples, “So you
have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one
can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22, NLT).
What a promise! When we know the risen Savior, we inherit an
unquenchable joy. But that promise hinges on how effectively we put into
practice the life principles Jesus taught and lived. Consider these seven
biblical tactics for keeping your gift of joy from being stolen.
1. Listen to God’s Word rather than your feelings.
You can let your feelings run your life. Don’t give your
feelings that much authority! Don’t deny them, but don’t let them be the
loudest voice you hear.
The Bible says, “As pressure and stress bear down on me, I
find joy in your commands” (Psalm 119:143). The Psalmist was facing pressure,
stress and troubling circumstances. To paraphrase, he said, “I’m feeling badly,
but I will listen to God’s Word above my feelings.” Pray this simple but
powerful prayer today: “Lord, I will trust Your Word and what it says more than
my feelings.” That’s a prayer God will answer.
2. Hang out with joyful people.
The Bible says, “Songs of joy and victory are sung in the
camp of the godly” (Psalm 118:15). A good test of worthwhile friendships is
this: Do those friends sing songs of joy and do they talk about victory and
positive things instead of negative topics?
I have some friends I’ve chosen not to be as close to as I
was in the past. Why? Their negative attitude poisons my joy. This doesn’t mean
you can’t be a comfort to a discouraged friend, but guard the joy the Lord
Jesus gives you when you encounter people who choose to live in bitterness.
Don’t let anyone steal your joy.
3. Confess your sin.
David wrote, “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord
has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty” (Psalm 32:2).
When did he write those words? After he committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Before he confessed his sin, he was in agony and without joy (check out verse
3). But once David confessed his sin, his joy returned.
When you have unconfessed sin in your life and the Holy
Spirit is convicting you, it’s tough to have joy. Come clean. Ask the Holy
Spirit to search out and destroy any sin in your life. Then ask Him to
permanently change you.
4. Limit your obligations.
When you say yes to too many things — even good things
— you have less time to read your Bible, pray and sleep. Instead of
loading your schedule from morning to evening with all kinds of things, let God
point you to the right choices and responsibilities. The Bible says, “You will
show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right
hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV). Joy is found by saying no
to some things so you can say yes to spending time with God and following His
5. Be yourself.
When you stand before God, He’s not going to ask you, “Why
weren’t you more like so and so?” God will simply evaluate how effectively you
served Him with the gifts He gave to you. You see, God made you to be you.
Isaiah described God as the One who “formed me in the womb
to be his servant” (Isaiah 49:5, NIV). From birth, God has guided your life to
fulfill His purposes. Don’t compare yourself to others; be all that you can be
with the help of the Holy Spirit in service to your Lord and Savior.
Please read the next words carefully: You make a very poor
somebody else, but you sure do make a great you! Celebrate who you are under
God and let your joy remain strong.
6. Take hold of your future.
At a key point in Israel’s history, after the exiles
returned to their homeland and began rebuilding the temple, there were those
who “wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid” (Ezra
Why would anyone feel sorrow at such a time? Because these
were people who remembered the previous temple, the grand edifice Solomon had
built that was destroyed by the Babylonians. The people were dejected because
they looked back to the way things used to be. But God wanted to do something
new among them and give them a glorious future.
I’m a firm believer in the biblical truth that God is
sovereign and controls the lives of His people. When you realize and accept
that truth, then your joy will be strong because you understand that God,
rather than your past, determines your future.
7. Focus on God’s promises rather than your problems.
Mark my words, your focus is like fertilizer. If you focus
on your problems, you feed them and they will grow. On the other hand, if you
focus on God’s promises, you feed them and they will grow. Which will it be for
The Bible says, “I will never forget your commandments, for
you have used them to restore my joy and health” (Psalm 119:93, NLT). Pray
today, “Lord God, I need Your help. Empower me to focus on Your promises
instead of my problems. I know You can restore my joy and health. I ask You to
do this for me this week.”
THOMAS LINDBERG, D. Min., is the pastor of Memphis First
Assembly in Tennessee.
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