When the love of the Lord Jesus first touched us and we repented and confessed His name, a previously unknown joy filled our hearts. What a joy it was to be forgiven and born again! God wants us to continue to be joyful in His wonderful salvation for our whole life. And this isn’t only for a select few; it’s normal for all God’s children, as we see in 1 Peter 1:8: “You exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.”
We can never lose our eternal salvation, but we have to admit that at times we lose the joy of our salvation. Let’s look at two reasons why that is, how we can recover our joy in the Lord, and what habits we can develop to have a joyful daily life.
1. Sin causes us to lose the joy of our salvation
First and foremost, sins we commit spoil our happiness. Although we’re saved, all of us have sinned, failed the Lord, or disobeyed Him. And after we sin, we feel something’s wrong; we sense a barrier has come up between us and the Lord.
Isaiah 59:2 tells us, “Your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
Our sins separate us from God because God is righteous; He can’t tolerate sin. This is why even a small transgression creates a barrier between God and us. Big or small, our sins cause us to lose the joy of our salvation.
2. Grieving the Spirit who indwells us causes us to lose the joy of our salvation
Romans 8:9 tells us clearly that “the Spirit of God dwells in you.” When we received the Lord Jesus as our Savior, He not only redeemed us, but He also came to dwell in us as the Spirit. Now we no longer live alone; we have another Person living in us, and He has His own thoughts, feelings, and preferences. Whenever we go along with the Lord who lives inside of us, He’s happy. And when He’s happy, we’re happy.
Paul said in Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.” Note 1 in the New Testament Recovery Version explains what it means to grieve the Holy Spirit:
“To grieve the Holy Spirit is to displease Him. The Holy Spirit abides in us forever (John 14:16-17), never leaving us. Hence, He is grieved when we do not walk according to Him (Rom. 8:4), that is, when we do not live according to the principle of reality with grace in the details of our daily walk.”
Let’s say, for example, we want to go to a certain place. But when we think about going, we feel uneasy. This feeling inside tells us that the Lord doesn’t want to go there. Though we try to reason to ourselves that it’s okay, the uneasy feeling won’t go away; the Lord Jesus in us simply doesn’t want to go there. But instead of agreeing with the Lord and obeying Him not to go, we go anyway. By not walking according to Him, we grieve Him and make Him unhappy. And it’s impossible for us to be happy when He’s grieved.
How can we recover and maintain the joy of our salvation?
Our joy in the Christian life can at times seem so elusive. We may even find ourselves crying out as the psalmist did, “Lord, restore to me the joy of Your salvation!” What can we do to recover our joy in these times, and how can we avoid losing it in the first place?
Just as a delicate flower is maintained and nurtured by the proper soil, water, and sunlight, our joy is preserved by the right conditions. The following four healthy habits can provide the right conditions to maintain our joy.
1. Confess our sins quickly
Whether our sins are a small transgression or a serious offense, we must confess them to the Lord. This includes grieving the Spirit. Whenever our conscience makes us aware that we’ve sinned, we shouldn’t wait but confess to the Lord. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We confess, and God is righteous to forgive us and cleanse us. The problem of sin us is dealt with and our fellowship with Him is restored, and we can enjoy the joy of salvation.
Learning to confess without delay is a good habit to develop. There’s no reason to wait. The sooner we confess our sins and failures to the Lord, the sooner we can enjoy sweet fellowship with Him once more.
2. Take in God’s Word as our spiritual food daily
We all know how grumpy and irritable we can be when we haven’t eaten and are physically hungry and undernourished. We experience the same thing spiritually when we haven’t been eating the spiritual food of God’s Word. If we spend time daily to delight ourselves in the Lord in His Word, the Word we feed on becomes the gladness and joy of our heart, supplying us throughout our day.
Eating physical food is an enjoyment to us, but eating the Word of God brings us true enjoyment and inner satisfaction. A daily habit of taking in God’s Word as our spiritual nourishment will help us maintain our joy in God’s salvation.
3. Speak to the Lord in prayer all the time
We don’t need to kneel down and solemnly recite a particular prayer when we pray to God. We can simply open our hearts and instantly speak to the Lord Jesus in a personal way. Any time of day or night, we can talk to Him. In John 16:24 the Lord Jesus told us to “ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be made full.” Speaking to Him in prayer about everything brings us joy. We can even pray by simply calling upon the name of the Lord.
By opening to the Lord in prayer, not only at set times or major life events, but each day and throughout the day, we strengthen our loving relationship with Him. By staying in fellowship with Him, we maintain our joy.
4. Fellowship with other Christians regularly
Having fellowship with other Christians also helps us maintain our joy in the Lord, since one of the joys of the Christian life is for believers to come together with others who love Jesus.
Concerning the believers’ fellowship, in 1 John 1:3-4 the apostle John showed us that genuine Christian fellowship is not a duty or a ritual but a matter of joy, even full joy:
“That which we have seen and heard we report also to you that you also may have fellowship with us…And these things we write that our joy may be made full.”
Gathering with other believers to read the Bible, speak about Christ, and praise the Lord is a highlight of our Christian experience that refreshes us, encourages us, and makes our joy full.
May we be those who endeavor to build up these healthy habits in our daily life. By confessing our sins, feeding on God’s Word, speaking to the Lord in prayer, and getting together to fellowship with other Christians, we can maintain an overflowing joy in our Christian lives.
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