You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
In this life of sin and pain, joy is embattled. Just like faith. And Paul says to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). So it is with joy. We must work for it and fight for it. Paul said to the Corinthians, “We work with you for your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24).
How then shall we fight for joy? Here are 15 pointers.
- Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
- Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly. And don’t be put off by the paradox of these first two pointers!
- Resolve to attack all known sin in your life, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Learn the secret of gutsy guilt — how to fight like a justified sinner.
- Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see — to see God for who he is.
- Meditate on the word of God day and night.
- Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for God.
- Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
- Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the fight.
- Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence.
- Get the rest, exercise, and proper diet that your body was designed by God to have.
- Make a proper use of God’s revelation in nature — take a walk in the woods.
- Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.
- Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (your verbal witness and deeds of mercy).
- Get a global vision for the cause of Christ, and pour yourself out for the unreached.
Every one of those has Bible verses to support it. If you want to see them, they are in the book When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy.