“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11
Joy is standard equipment to the Christian life. Jesus said His followers should be full of joy; which means there are levels of joy we can measure. What’s your joy meter revealing today? Are you joy full? If not, stop a minute to examine why. Here are a few reasons your joy might be running low.
#1: Are you a genuine follower of Jesus? Christians have the same capacity for joy as Jesus. How? Because joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). You see, it’s not our joy but His joy. It’s not about your personality; it’s about Jesus. If your joy meter is always on empty, then examine whether you truly have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
#2: Are you focused on Jesus or on circumstances? Christians have the ability to be joyful at all times, but we can’t live at full capacity if we aren’t mindful of that fact. Remember, joy and happiness are different things. It’s interesting that Jesus gave this instruction just before His arrest because it’s a lesson in practical Christianity. He didn’t expect His followers to be happy about His death, but to experience the joy of His resurrection.
The apostle Paul put it this way, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). If your joy isn’t full, then maybe your eyes are on circumstances rather than fixed on Jesus.
#3: Are you living with unconfessed sin? Trying to live on our own terms drains our joy and replaces it with misery. We see this in the life of David when he repented of his sin with Bathsheba. He prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Believers simply cannot willfully sin and live in the joy of the Lord.
Genuine joy is not circumstantial, nor is it part of your personality. But it is a character trait of Jesus. It’s a gift of grace activated by faith. And when our faith is weak, our joy runs low. Are you joy full? If not, maybe you’re focusing on circumstances instead of on Jesus. Or perhaps there’s unconfessed sin lingering in your heart. Remember, anything that hinders your fellowship with Jesus hinders your joy. Do you know Him?