We know God wants us to be holy and also to be loving to others (1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 4:7) But do we remember that God wants us to have joy? Not just joy in things like nice weather, good food, or some time off work. God wants us to have a joy that is rooted deep down in Him.
Too often we as Christians are cast down in our spirits over the news or health concerns or our bank accounts. But God desires us to be joyful—truly happy in Christ. Paul the Apostle writes to the Philippians about his ministry focus for their church—he says, “for your progress and joy in the faith” (Phil. 1:25). Of course, he wants them to “progress” and grow in the Lord, but notice also he wants to the lead them for their “joy in the faith.” This might suggest our faith isn’t growing if our joy isn’t growing.
Times of sadness will come, and we struggle to feel the joy God wants us to experience. In Psalm 86, David tells of a particularly hard time, where he felt “poor and needy” and asked God to “preserve” him and “save” him (verses 1-2). During this trial, David was crying to God “all day” (v. 3). But David doesn’t just want God to rescue his life; he prays next: “gladden the soul of Your servant” (v. 4). He’s in trouble, his soul is weary, and he’s praying to God: “make me glad in You again!”
God will do it. For David, and for you and me, because He is “good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call” upon Him (v. 5). Won’t you today call out to the only God who can truly fill your soul with joy?