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A Joyful Heart

I once went to my father and said, “I’m not happy, Dad.” He patiently sat and listened to my woes. After a nice chat, he sent me on my way, feeling much better than when we started. The next day, I was back: “Dad, it didn’t work, I’m still not happy.” He listened again and, once more, I left feeling better. We continued this process for several days, and then he wisely looked at me and said, “Scott, the happiest people in the world never think about whether or not they are happy.”

My father helped me to see that the core of my struggle was my focus. My selfishness was spoiling my joy. I have found this to be true many times in my life. A godly woman once sent me a quotation: “Occupation with self brings distress; occupation with others brings discouragement; occupation with Christ brings delight!” It was a loving and helpful rebuke.

I wonder if perhaps you have been robbed of joy by a focus that falls short of setting your sights on things above (Colossians 3:2). If so, confess it and be restored to the joy of focusing on Him! The Lord wants gladness for His people. Psalm 4:7 says, “Thou hast put gladness in my heart.” What has the Lord given us that our joy may be full?

His Presence

“In Thy presence is fulness of joy” (Psalms 16:11).

I recently read a statistic that was a bit shocking. A survey of evangelical Christians showed that less than 25% of them reported to read the Word daily. No wonder we lack the joy of an overflowing heart—we are not spending time in His presence!

I have a friend whose mother spends an hour a day alone with the Lord. This has been her habit for many years. Some time ago, she let the busyness of life crowd this away and the dryness she noticed in herself quickly convinced her that she had chosen poorly. She went back to her time with the Lord and to a heart that was filled with Him! Are you spending time with Him or are you missing out on the day-to-day enjoyment of the best that life has to offer?

Abiding in Christ

“Your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

After teaching His disciples that they should abide in His love, the Lord Jesus states that the result will be full joy! The emphasis in John 15 is abiding through obedience. The Lord Jesus is teaching that a lifestyle of communion with Him will result in a heart that is overflowing with joy!

The most joyful people I know are the ones who consistently commune with their Savior. Does your experience show this to be the case? Are you obeying His commands? Are you fellowshipping with and serving Him? How is your joy? If there is a lack, perhaps abiding is the answer!

Answered Prayer

“Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

Prayer is one of the greatest privileges of the Christian life. To ask of God and see His hand at work in our lives is one of the greatest joys I know! The Lord has given us free and constant access to His presence. Do you need more grace? Go and get it!

Do you see the hand of God moving in your life as a result of prayer? Many Christians do not. If a husband does not treat his wife correctly, if we seek to consume God’s blessings on our own lusts, or if we are walking distantly from the Lord, we should not expect answered prayers (1 Peter 3:7; James 4:3; Psalm 66:18).

We were recently on a college campus to share the good news with students. It was supposed to rain all day, so we prayed, asking the Lord to make it possible for us to share His truth. We were out there all day and never got wet. I wish you could have seen the joy on our faces when we learned that it had poured around the campus all day, but the Lord held off the rain for us!

Fellowship of Saints

“Greatly desiring to see thee … that I may be filled with joy” (2 Timothy 1:4).

The Lord has given us a wonderful blessing in the family of God. Getting together with believers is to be a time that fills our hearts with joy. Do you look forward to getting together with the saints, or is it a chore for you? According to 1 John, this is a good test of how we are doing spiritually. Are you loving the saints, investing in the saints, seeing the Lord work in the saints, and, as a result, having a full heart of joy when you see and speak with them?

Dear reader, is your heart filled with joy? Let us press into His presence, abiding in Him, praying earnestly, and fellowshipping with His people that we may honor Him with a heart full of joy!

—Scott DeGroff, UPLOOK magazine.