faith

If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Not Happy? (A Study on Joy)

 

 

 

Do you compare yourself to your friend who seems too happy all. the. time?

Do you find yourself questioning, “Why am I not happy?! I’m a Christian! Where’s the joy?”

Well, my friends, join the “struggling for joy crowd.” We all have our days, weeks, months, and years when joy seems unattainable.

The other day, a good friend was telling me how the Lord whispered in her ear, “Be lighthearted.”

Her advice from the Lord spoke to me too because it had been a week of doubt and discouragement. Joy had been hiding in the shadows, and the slimy deceiver had been working overtime in my brain, even though I know better than to listen. But there’s always a little truth mixed in with the lie that makes his whispers so hard to ignore.

I know better than to entertain these thoughts, but I also know I shouldn’t eat a whole bag of potato chips.

And so like Eve I was tempted. My temptation wasn’t to eat an apple or a bag of potato chips (because we didn’t have one in the pantry). My temptation was to indulge in discouragement. 

Discouragement is dangerous my friends.

That’s why God told Joshua not to get discouraged! It takes away our drive, our hope, our energy, our purpose. Discouragement makes us want to quit. But we’re not going to let it!

The truth is, just because I don’t  feel good about today, and discouragement may be threatening my resolve, and joy may seem so far away, tomorrow will bring new mercies.

“For your mercies are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:23 NIV)

New help.

New hope.

New perspective.

Recalculating For Joy

If you’ve been wondering why you feel so unhappy, it’s time to recalculate.

Sometimes I just need sleep.

Sometimes I need to recover from fighting a cold.

And sometimes I just need a new perspective like what I find when I go for a walk, or sit at the ocean, or call a friend.

I always feel better when I know I’m not the only one fighting negative thoughts–the struggle is real my friends!!

I counsel others that when the struggle is great, the enemy is worried and doing all he can to shut. us. down! We’re onto him. We know his tactics. They’re getting old, amen!?

Redefine Joy

Part of the joy-less issue is we haven’t used Scripture to define it. Instead, we’ve used Webster. We’ve defined joy as happiness. But it’s so much more.

On his website, Word from the Word, Dr. Dan Hayden writes:

The key to our understanding the joy of the Lord, however, is to observe carefully the specific joy our Lord had in mind in His prayer. When Jesus prayed, He said, “that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (v. 13). There it is. Do you see it? He does not have our joy (in the sense of what pleases us) in mind at all. Rather, He is thinking of His own joy brought to completion (fulfilled) in our Christian lives. That is more than an interesting observation. It is the essence of knowing what the Bible means when it refers to Christian joy. The joy of the Lord, quite frankly, is the Lord’s joy. In other words, it is the kind of joy experienced by Him when He was on the earth . . . . Our Lord is praying for us that we might have His joy fulfilled in us. What is He praying? He is praying that we will enter into such a close union with Him that the joy of His life will be the joy of our lives. He is praying that we will catch the vision of devoting our lives to the glory of God and to His purpose in the world with the realization that we will one day share in His glory. Oh, what a joy it is—no matter the cost! –Dr. Dan Hayden,

The joy Dr. Hayden writes about comes from eternal perspective, eternal purpose, eyes that see beyond today and run for the glory of God. Hearts who rejoice because they have a Savior.

Rick Warren’s defines joy this way:

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.

 

Joy is a determined choice to praise God in every situation.

After my sister’s death, I wondered if I’d ever laugh again. The grief ache was great. It simply would not let go until the day I chose to raise my hands and dance to God. To trust His goodness even in her death. To choose to be joyful in Him not my unhappy circumstances.

That’s when the supernatural joy came.

In a post I wrote last year about the possibility of finding joy in all circumstances I wrote:

Only the Spirit of Jesus can take me to places of joy and thanksgiving when circumstances fog my vision and life is less than pleasant. The practice of thanksgiving, even the desperate prayer to find something to be thankful for is a portal for His Holy Spirit to enter a despairing heart.

Paul continued to write, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire: do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (5:19).

These too are keys to joy and thankfulness. Hold on to the good. When things are bad all around me, when my heart despairs with sorrow, when life is just plain and ordinary, I have to hold on to the good. God is good.

Satan’s number one tactic is to put doubt in our mind of God’s goodness. When we are discouraged we are either mad at God or ourselves.

Rather than being upset about being discouraged, See it as a sign you must be doing something the enemy doesn’t like. He must be threatened by the Jesus in you. He’s threatened by your prayers for others, and your gifts and talents that you are using for the Kingdom.

Oh for eyes to see what we’re doing for God with eternal perspective! For eyes to see His economy as He views it not with our world’s vision.

Let’s choose to be lighthearted my friends. Let’s choose to not take the negative thoughts in our heads so seriously.

Let’s choose joy.

Bible Reading Plan

 

 

 

Sneak Peek and Printable with Prompts

Monday: The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

  • The key to the psalmists joy is trusting God. Write down anything you struggle trusting God with, and then write a prayer asking for his supernatural strength to trust him so you can know his joy.

Tuesday: Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

  • Do you know what brings God joy? You. Close your eyes and picture his smile as he looks into your eyes. Do you feel his joy? Does it strengthen you?

 

Wednesday: Those the Lord has rescued will return.They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11

  • This is a promise for the future. Can you be joyful for the joy that’s set before you? Write a paragraph describing heaven.

 

Thursday: . . . and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

  • The oil of joy is the Holy Spirit. Ask him to fill you today with his Presence!

 

Friday: . . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

  • Christ endured the cross. He wasn’t bubbling with joy yet, but he endured it for the joy set before him. He could see the finish line, and it was good. Ask for vision to see the finish line.

Saturday: To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24,25

  • We’ve focused a lot on our homecoming this week, but that is where the joy is, our hope and promise. One day we will cross the thresh-hold of eternity and our joy will be so great we will not be able to contain it. Read jude 24,25 again. Who will present us? Spend some time imagining what you will say to Jesus?

 

Sunday: 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. Romans 15:13   

  • This is one of my life verses and is at the bottom of my website. What’s the key to joy and peace? “Help me trust your goodness Lord!”

Get the printable!

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Digging Deep to Live Fully!

Andy

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Not Happy? (A Study on Joy)

  1. Hey, my old friend, you hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Bless your precious heart for finding the heart to confess some weakness and then plunge on ahead anyway to help the rest of us gain a brighter perspective. I love you!

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