In a day where churches are run like enterprises and pastors carry the titles of “executive”, there is a real threat of being so focused on visionary achievements and expansion that ministry teams can quickly become oblivious to the spiritual needs of their flock and the diminishing presence of the Lord in their own lives. The majority of pastors are not even employed by the church but work a second and third job to provide a steady income. All this brings so much stress and anxiety that one of the first things lost is the presence of joy. The lack of joy happens to be one of Satan’s oldest playbook strategies. Without joy, you are not much of a witness and there is not much evidence of the Lord in your life.
How To Live In The Joy Of The Lord
If you are the senior pastor or leader of your church, it is your responsibility to first live, as an example, in the Joy of the Lord and then stewards that down into every department within your ministry team. When you build your ministry team to operate within the realms of joy, their output, motivation, creativity, and vision will be off the charts. This is not some Norman Vincent Peale positive-thinking pep talk, it is the essence of believing who you are, who you serve, and what that relationship offers.
Here’s how to gain the Joy of The Lord:
1. Joy Comes Through Faith In Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
The first prerequisite for having the Joy of the Lord is faith in Christ; This immediately changes everything. Your joy now springs from being chosen and loved by a Savior, who laid down his life (while you were still in sin) to die for you. He rose again and defeated the power of sin and death over you. By believing this, you are given eternal life. Guaranteed! If this does not cause pure joy, then nothing will! Romans 5:2 “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” NLT
2. Joy Comes Through Obedience To Christ
Just like a child (most children for that matter) takes great joy in pleasing their parents, so we too experience great joy when we live in obedience to Christ by giving our bodies and minds as a living sacrifice to walk, talk, act and think in accordance with God’s will. There is no joy when you know the right thing to do, and you don’t do it. Joy through obedience is a “vice-versa” effect. You are obedient because you have joy, and you are joyful because you are obedient. Lamentations 3:40 “Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD.” NLT
3. Joy Comes Through Forgiveness and Repentance
Nothing steals joy like guilt. Guilt over unconfessed sin, or a life in sin, brings a huge separation between you and God. What joy is there when you stand in His presence during prayer, worship or in communion when your life is a wreck with sin? All you feel is condemnation. The Word states that if you confess your sins, He is able to forgive and remove them as far as the east is from the west. Constant introspection and forgiveness become the normality for every believer. Joy and freedom go hand in hand!
Romans says that there is no more condemnation for those who belong to Jesus as they are forgiven, and nothing can ever separate us from Him. This is beautifully shown in Psalm 32.
4. Joy Comes Through Praying for Others
It’s hard to pray for others when there is so much to pray for oneself. This sounds like an arrogant statement, but it’s true! Our prayers consist of lists of desires and needs for our own lives, families, and existence. When we practice diminishing our own needs and use our prayer time to pray for others, especially in a form of thanksgiving, it uplifts our hearts as it retracts the focus from you, and places it on others. James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” ESV. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” ESV
5. Joy Comes Through Fellowship With Believers
Everyone can speak of the immense joy experienced when fellowshipping with other believers. The environment is usually rich with testimonies, thanksgiving, and continued talk about God. The Lord loves when His children talk about Him, and He also commands that we not forsake the fellowship of believers. Hebrews 10:25 “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” NLT.
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”” NLT
6. Joy Comes Through Service In His Kingdom
You should work unto the Lord in everything you do. However, when you find the opportunity to work in ministry or work for a company that is ministry-focused, you experience utmost joy. There is nothing more fulfilling than using your skills and experience in ministry to help others and further the Kingdom. The best of both worlds! Seek opportunities where you can sow into Kingdom work.
Colossians 3:23 “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”NLT
Matthew 20:28 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” NLT
7. Joy Comes Through Giving
Giving in the act of tithing or because of kindness or for the sake of poverty is all based on the same principle of joy. Giving is an act of worship and brings with it the immense joy. You should celebrate when you tithe into ministry. You should seek out opportunities to give your service to a Kingdom need. Giving, in general, whether it’s at home, at work or in marriage is a principle of joy!
Acts 20:35 “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” NLT
Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.” NLT
8. Joy Comes Through Worship
If you are stressed out of your mind or find yourself in a difficult position where you have to make a life-changing choice, go to your bedroom, put on some worship music, and just rest in the presence of the Lord. Start praising God. Don’t ask for anything. Just lift Him up. Worship Him for who He is, and what He has done for you. Declare His goodness and glory. In minutes, you’ll find your heart uplifted, your anxiety diminished and a true sense of joy returning!
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” ESV
9. Joy Comes Through Study Of The Word of God
To understand the unending Joy of the Lord that is your strength, you have to understand the basis from which this concept stems. The more you spend time in the Word, the more your mind will be transformed to think, act, talk and live as is pleasing to God. Your thoughts will be more positive. Your actions will be kind. Your approach will become more humble. When you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. When this happens, joy springs forth. The excitement to discover more of God’s character is amazing!
Psalm 119:16 “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” ESV
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” ESV
10. Joy Comes Through Your Identity In Christ
When you accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, you became a new creation. The old is gone, the new has begun. This is a radical and utter transformation in every sense of your being. When you understand who you are in Him, you will walk in boldness, courage, and power. You will operate from within the Joy of the Lord. You are not worthless – you have been chosen. You are complete in Him. You are blameless and holy before God. You are God’s workmanship – created in Christ to do good works. You are a light to the world. The light of the Gospel shines in your mind. You have affirmation upon Scriptural affirmation. What is more joyful than knowing that you are loved, are adopted as sons and daughters in Him, and that you are heirs to the Kingdom?
John 1:12, Colossians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 6:17, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 1:3-8, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 15:22, Philippians 3:20, John 15:16, 2 Corinthians 4.4
The next time you find yourself in a stressful situation or feel that your joy is diminishing, go through these 10 things and evaluate your stance on each of them.