The operational definition of joyfulness is “delighting in fellowship with the Lord regardless of my circumstances.” When you delight in someone, you admire and appreciate him and enjoy being with that person. The same is true about your relationship with God. Delighting in fellowship with Him produces a deep, consistent assurance that sustains a Christian through any situation. When you talk with the Lord, read His Word, and act on what He says, your heart will be encouraged. As you rest in the Lord and receive strength from Him, joy and peace will spring from fellowship with God. While happiness may look like joy, it disappears when life does not go well. A happy person’s emotional outlook fluctuates, depending upon what is happening, while the joyful person radiates hope and cheer despite changing circumstances. His attitude often refreshes and encourages those around him.
The opposite of joyfulness is self-pity. A person who focuses on his own problems and concerns often becomes irritable or gloomy. A self-pitying person feels sorry for himself. He may pout, saying, “Everybody is mean to me,” “I never get to do anything fun,” or “Nobody likes me.” Instead of drawing attention to the Lord, he selfishly draws attention to himself and his problems. When he pridefully seeks his own happiness above all else, he is easily disappointed when his expectations are not met. By focusing on his difficulties, he rejects the opportunity to fellowship with the Lord. Furthermore, self-pity tends to blind a person from seeing others’ needs and loving them. The Apostle Paul did not indulge in self-pity! He willingly gave up personal comforts and desires for God’s priorities and purposes. (See Acts 20:24.)
- When people look at me, do they see a bright, smiling countenance?
- Does my attitude communicate to others that I am glad to be with them?
- Are my times of fellowship with God fervent and meaningful?
- Do I turn to God regularly for encouragement, or do I rely on encouragement from others instead?
- Am I thankful in difficult circumstances and looking for possible benefits?
- Do I waver between happiness and sadness, or do I maintain a constant, inner joy?
- Even in times of sorrow, do I claim the promise that joy will return in due time?
- Do I share with others how I see God working good in seemingly bad situations?
- In what ways am I finding joy in serving others?
More About Joyfulness
God enables me to:
Look for good in all things.
Smile at adversity.
Stand on the promises.
Let His Spirit rule my emotions.
Remember that joy will return after times of sorrow.
Fellowship with Him.
Find joy in serving others.
Walk in the Spirit.
Joyfulness in Scripture
Singing While Shackled
Revealed in Nature
Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum
View the Joyfulness booklet sample:
Free Resources for Joyfulness
Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!