These days joy feels hard to come by. All around us are news articles about the rising cost of living, struggling hospitals, increasing COVID cases and extreme weather events.
As Christians, we are called to take joy in our knowledge of God’s salvation, but how do we actually do that when everything around us seems to be pointing us towards worry and fear?
Here are five practical resources to help Christians experience joy - especially amidst the clutter of everyday life. There is a common theme throughout them all: to focus less on our present circumstances and more on our confidence in what God has done for us, which is where we can find (if not always feel) true joy.
Don’t be put off by the title. This isn’t a self-help book but a deep dive into Phillipians and what it reveals about the Christian spiritual life. Swindoll focuses on finding authentic joy in Jesus, and paints a beautiful picture of genuine laughter “deep within the soul”. Perfect if you’re looking to be encouraged to turn to the Bible.
This episode focuses on the biblical command to rejoice in the Lord, debunking myths about it and pointing to how it is a call to take God at his word. This will be especially helpful if you (or someone you know) has questions about trusting God in a practical way and what rejoicing might look like when it’s hard.
A common misconception about joy is that it is intrinsically linked to happiness. In this short book, R. C. Sproul focuses on the important distinction between these states, pointing us to the only reliable path to deep and lasting joy. This book could be helpful for someone new to faith or who is looking to rebuild their relationship with Jesus.
This book speaks into the mundaneness of everyday life - especially when times are hard - and the importance of finding enjoyment in God despite work hassles, traffic jams and screaming kids. Chester focuses on how the Father, Son and Spirit are relating to us through our day-to-day lives and encourages us to respond to them.
This book is not specifically focused on joy, but instead provides meditations on a range of psalms and reflections on the feelings within them. It’s designed to equip the everyday Christian with Scriptures to turn to in every season of life, but particularly when experiencing a strong emotion. Key chapters include the ones on helplessness and weariness (potential opposites to joy), but there are also opportunities to focus on gratefulness and contentment.