Finding Your Missing Joy

by Jenn Wyss

If you were asked to come up with a single word that described the Christian faith what would you choose? I think most of us would say “love”. The word “love” does appear 317 times in the New Testament so it is pretty important. However, would you be shocked to learn that the word “joy” actually occurs in the New Testament 236 times!  If there is one prevailing characteristic of the Christian faith found in the New Testament, it would be joy.

Every single New Testament writer speaks about joy.  Every single one. In Scripture, Paul is particularly fond of the word joy. Interestingly, he often links the words joy and peace. In Romans Paul reminds us that joy and peace are not just happy feelings, but key signs of the kingdom of God working through our lives.

Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, simply put, joy is a mark of the inbreaking of God’s kingdom in our lives.

Therefore, if joy is an essential part of the Christian life and evidence that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, why is it so often missing in our lives? Why does it seem that many Christians are miserable and exude anything but joy?

Maybe one reason is we simply lose our focus. It is easy to get run down and frustrated and then fall into self-pity.  Sadly, self-pity is the great enemy of joy. When our minds are filled with misery and feeling sorry for ourselves we tend to spread gloom to those around us instead of spreading the joy and peace that Paul speaks about.  In essence what has happened is we have turned our focus from God onto ourselves.

As a young girl, I was a ballerina.  One of the first things that you are taught is that when you pirouette or spin around on one foot, you have to focus on a spot in the front of the room. When your body spins your head snaps around as quickly as possible to regain focus on your “spot”. If you fail to do this you would end up dizzy, confused and laying in a heap on the floor.

When we take our focus off of Christ and put it on ourselves, it steals our joy.  We metaphorically end up in a heap on the floor, confused and dizzy.

Maybe God is calling us to refocus today.  To take our eyes off of ourselves and refocus them on Him.  To remind ourselves of the great truths in the Bible and to remember all that God has done for us.  And, to once again claim the promises he has made.  When we base our focus on the right “spot” on the one who is unchanging and always constant, our joy will be more consistent and our lives will be a willing receptacle for the inbreaking of God’s kingdom in our lives.