I want to be a joyful person. No matter what I do, however, I always seem to get overwhelmed by my circumstances at times. Even though I pray for joy, there are days when it does not come.
So I thought, maybe there is a bit more to joy than just expecting it to appear one day – maybe there are actual steps and things I can do to intentionally be joyful. The Bible even commands us to ‘rejoice in the Lord always.’ (Philippians 4:4)
So I decided to do a bit of an internet search on the discipline of joy. It came up with some interesting (and hilarious!) results. One site suggested I got hold of some CDs of people laughing uncontrollably and listen to it regularly! (Or failing that, I could make funny faces at myself in the mirror!)
Although I am sure laughter is a great way to lighten the spirit, what about those days when I don’t want to laugh? What about those days which are hard and sad?
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that he is ‘sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;’ so there has to be a godly rejoicing that maintains us throughout difficult circumstances or down days.
John Piper has written two very interesting books on the subject: ‘When I don’t desire God: fighting for Joy’ and ‘When the darkness does not lift’. I am currently going through the first book with a study guide.
So what have I learnt so far? God is the one who awakens joy in us. We just have to be willing. We can’t make ourselves joyful, we can just focus on Him and allow him to awaken a desire for Him. Seeking joy in God is not only a good thing, it is a necessary thing, simply because ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.'
So what do I plan to do? Just pray that God would awaken a desire in me for more of Him each day, and that that would awaken more joy in my life. My prayer is that I would overflow with His joy.
What is your prayer?