Why do many Christians fail to experience real joy, which is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22?
In his book Laugh Again, Charles Swindoll suggests three common “joy stealers”—worry, stress, and fear. He defines worry as “an inordinate anxiety about something that may or may not occur.” (And it usually doesn’t.) Stress, says the author, is “intense strain over a situation we can’t change or control.” (But God can.) And fear, according to Swindoll, is a “dreadful uneasiness over danger, evil, or pain.” (And it magnifies our problems.)
Swindoll says that to resist these “joy stealers” we must embrace the same confidence that Paul expressed in his letter to the Philippians. After giving thanks for the Philippian believers (1:3-5), the apostle assured them “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (v.6).
Whatever causes you worry, stress, and fear cannot ultimately keep God from continuing His work in you. With this confidence we can begin each day knowing that He is in control. We can leave everything in His hands.
Resist those “joy stealers” by renewing your confidence in God each morning. Then relax and rejoice.
Although our joy will wane at times
From worry, stress, and fear,
God keeps on working in our heart
And tells us He is near. —D. De Haan
Happiness depends on happenings; joy depends on Jesus.