Focusing on Jesus is the key to joy, even during times of distress.
The apostle Paul demonstrated that spiritual joy is possible even during times of adversity. In fact, his epistle to the Philippians, written during a time of imprisonment, is known for its repeated references to rejoicing. But have you ever felt as if you’ve lost your joy? This can happen for several reasons:
• Wrong focus. By centering on Jesus, Paul was able to praise God despite harsh trials. Concentrating on difficulties can cause delight to vanish. Refocus through praise to bring it back.
• Disobedience. Sin steals our joy because it disrupts our fellowship with God (Ps. 66:18). As we receive His forgiveness and obey Him, joy returns.
• Regret. We crowd out gladness when we dwell on past mistakes. The Lord has forgiven us (1 John 1:9). He wants us to choose to live in His grace and move ahead.
• Fear. Joy and fear cannot coexist. We are called to live by faith, asking God to meet today’s needs and trusting Him with the future.
• Others’ suffering. How can we rejoice when others hurt? Romans 12:15 says we’re to weep with them, but we are also to offer the hope of God’s presence, power, and provision.
A consistently downcast spirit is a poor witness for hope (Ps. 42:11). Fix your gaze on the Savior and let His joy become yours. Then it can overflow to those around you.