K- The Virtue of Joy

///K- The Virtue of Joy
K- The Virtue of Joy2017-03-30T17:07:02+00:00
Study Explanation
Key Scripture
Discussion Guides
Growing Exercises
Recommended Reading

Explanation

This is how you view time: past, present and future.  Are you hopeful, excited and optimistic about life and your relationship with God, or are you discouraged, down-hearted and pessimistic?  Do you feel that life has been unfair to you?  Do you often feel that God has let you down?  Do you feel cheated by God because he has not given you what you desire or worked in your life in the way you think he should?    Do you feel that you are a victim?  Do you have a micro-perspective that tends to see only the temporal rather than a macro-perspective that views life through the lenses of the eternal?  Or, do you see yourself as blessed by God regardless of your temporal state?  Does your salvation and relationship with God impact your moods and outlook on life?  Do you rest in what God has done, rejoice in what he is doing and cannot wait for what he will accomplish?  Do you blame God or thank him?  Do you lament your situation or savor what he has given you?  Do you dread the future or face it with expectancy and hope?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference. 

Joy in God’s Presence

1 Chronicles 16:27 – Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. NIV

Psalm 21:6 – Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. NIV

Joy from God’s love and salvation

Psalm 35:9 – Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation. NIV

Psalm 90:14 – Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. NIV

John 15:11 – I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. NIV

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. NIV

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. NIV

See also Romans 8:38-39, Psalm 97:11, Acts 13:52, Habakkuk 3:18, & Deuteronomy 12:7

Joy and Hope

Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. NIV

Hope in God

Psalm 25:3 – No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame. NIV

Psalm 31:24 – Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. NIV

Psalm 62:5 – Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. NIV

Psalm 71:14 – But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. NIV

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?

DISCUSSION GUIDES

Joy in Troubled Times

K1 – Joy in Uncertainty and Loss– Nehemiah 8: 10-17

Key Words: Joy, Grief, Hope, Strength, Uncertainty

  1. This passage takes place amidst great change and unrest for the people of Jerusalem. They have been maligned and attacked.  They have lost loved ones.  After tremendous sacrifice they have built a wall to protect themselves.  Why does Nehemiah repeatedly tell the people not to grieve?
  2. Joy is a major theme in this chapter: how can they have joy amidst so much loss, anxiety and uncertainty?
  3. What hope do they have?
  4. Why does this hope bring them joy?
  5. The text says, ‘the joy of the Lord is their strength:’ how does joy strengthen people?
  6. This text ties God’s word and hope to joy, how does God’s word foster both hope and joy?
  7. Verse 17 speaks of spiritual celebration, what spiritual celebrations do we have today and why are these important?
  8. Why and how can we experience joy amidst loss, anxiety and uncertainty?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
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K2 – Joy in Trouble and Danger – Psalm 5: 11-12

Key Words: Joy, Trials, Danger, Happiness

  1. How does this passage connect joy to the realities of the world?
  2. Why do we tend to view joy as circumstantial?
  3. What is the difference between happiness and Joy?
  4. What about this passage leads you to believe that the people faced less than desirable circumstances?
  5. What is the basis for joy amidst enemies and danger?
  6. Is this kind of joy realistic?
  7. Why is Christian joy not based on circumstance?
  8. In which of your current circumstances do you need to feel more joy and apply the lessons of this Psalm?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
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K3 – Joy in Sacrifice – 2 Corinthian 8: 1-4

Key Words: Joy, Praise, Sacrifice, Trials, Poverty

  1. Why is Paul praising the Macedonian churches?
  2. How do we know this ministry was a sacrifice for them?
  3. What attitude do people in our culture typically have towards sacrifice?
  4. How do we know they were eager to do it?
  5. What caused them to desire to sacrifice so?
  6. How can anyone possibly experience joy in severe trails and extreme poverty?
  7. How does this attitude run counter to our culture?
  8. What is the secret to remaining joyful in all circumstances?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
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K4 – Joy in Stress and Anxiety – Psalm 4

Key Words: Joy, Stress, Anxiety, Maturity

  1. What emotions and concerns does the Psalmist express in this Psalm?
  2. Do you ever experience times when you relate to his anxieties?
  3. How does his relationship with God impact his problems?
  4. According to this Psalm, how does the Lord respond when we call upon him?
  5. What does he mean when he says the Lord has filled his heart with a greater joy? What is the greater joy that we have as Christians?
  6. How does verse 3 hint at this joy?
  7. How does this greater joy trump earthy concerns?
  8. What does it mean when the Psalmist says the Lord makes him dwell in safety: is this a physical, emotional, or spiritual concept?
  9. What do you see in this Psalm that indicates this person has a very mature faith?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
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K5 – Joy in Trials – James 1: 2-4

Key Words: Joy, Trials, Perspective, Spiritual Growth

  1. Why does James indicate we can and should actually face trials with joy?
  2. Is he out of his mind or does he understand a deep and secret truth?
  3. List 3 of the greatest trials of your life.
  4. How did the Lord use these trials to draw you closer to him or deepen your faith?
  5. How does the world typically view trials?
  6. Is overcoming trials largely a matter of perspective: if so, what is that perspective?
  7. How does faith fit into this equation?
  8. How and why is spiritual growth worth the trouble we must often endure to achieve it?
  9. Why should Christians face trials and troubles different than the world?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
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K6 – Joy in Suffering – Romans 5: 1-4

Key Words: Joy, Suffering, Salvation, Endurance, Faith, Hope, Strength

  1. How does this passage connect our hope and joy of salvation to our joy during times of trial and affliction?
  2. How do eternal realities impact temporal ones?
  3. Why does the text indicate we should rejoice in suffering?
  4. How does suffering produce perseverance? How does perseverance produce character?
  5. How does Character produce hope?
  6. Is it possible to find joy in suffering without both hope and faith?
  7. How is the presence of faith, hope, and joy an indicator of a strong foundation in your life (see Matthew 7: 24-27)?
  8. How does this type of foundation strengthen you and those around you?
  9. How do you need to grow spiritually for you to rejoice in suffering?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
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K7 – Joy in Persecution? – Matthew 5: 10-12

Key Words: Joy, Persecution, Faith, The Kingdom of God, Success, Suffering

  1. Why is it counter intuitive to rejoice during persecution?
  2. What is our normal human response to persecution?
  3. How might persecution alter one’s relationship with God?
  4. What promise does God give to those who experience persecution for his sake?
  5. What is the kingdom of God: what are its temporal and eternal qualities (See Matthew 6:10)?
  6. Why might rejoicing in persecution seem difficult, if not impossible, to some Christians?
  7. Why might some Christians view rejoicing in persecution as normative?
  8. What would you say to those Christians who say that success and prosperity are signs of God’s favor, while trouble and suffering are signs of his disfavor?
  9. Do you feel that American Christians expect their relationship with Christ to result in material and physical peace and prosperity? Is this expectation biblical?
  10. What kind of faith and perspective must people have to sincerely rejoice in persecution?
  11. Why is it a genuine privilege to suffer for Christ? How would embracing the values in this passage change our lives?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time

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Joy in God’s Presence

K8 – God’s Presence Inspires Joy – Psalm 16:11

Key Words: Joy, God’s Presence, Spiritual Life, Peace, Significance, Pleasure in God

  1. How is the word ‘life’ being used in this Psalm?
  2. Where do the paths of life lead?
  3. How do the paths of life impact the deep desires of our soul: peace… meaning… well-being… significance… satisfaction/fulfilment… and love?
  4. How is joy the result of all of these other qualities present in our souls?
  5. What is the source of the joy the Psalmist expresses in this text?
  6. What kind of pleasures are found in God’s right hand?
  7. Is the Psalmist speaking of a present or future reality, or both?
  8. Does it seem strange to you that the very presence of God would bring such joy and pleasure?
  9. Why do you suppose such joy is found in the presence of God?
  10. Do you feel you will find eternity in the presence of God boring or exhilarating… explain?
  11. Does this text give any clue of how to increase joy in our lives?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
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K9 – God’s Goodness Inspires Joy and Worship – Psalm 28: 6-9

Key Words: Joy, God’s Goodness, Blessing, Praise, Gratitude, Worship

  1. How does the Psalmist’s heart respond to God in verse 7?
  2. Has your heart ever leapt for joy thinking of the Lord?
  3. Is this something you experience on a regular basis?
  4. Is this something you should experience on a regular basis?
  5. In what specific ways is the Lord blessing or revealing his goodness to the Psalmist in this passage?
  6. What effect does the Lord’s blessings have on the Psalmist’s joy?
  7. In what specific ways is the Lord blessing or revealing his goodness in your life?
  8. Does the Lord’s blessings have the same impact on your heart as it did for the Psalmist… why or why not?
  9. What is the effect does the Psalmist’s joy have on his ability to worship?
  10. Do God’s blessings often lead to joy, thanksgiving and worship in your life… why or why not?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
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Joy in God’s blessings

K10 – Moving from Depression to Joy – Psalm 30

Key Words: Joy, Depression, Praise, God’s Goodness

  1. How does the author describe his poor emotional state during this Psalm?
  2. What image and emotion is invoked when David says he is in or descending into a pit?
  3. Depression is often described as a pit, are there other indications in the Psalm the author may be experiencing depression?
  4. What seems to be the source of the psalmist’s poor emotional state?
  5. How does the psalmist reach out to God during his distress?
  6. What specific ways does God respond to the needs of the Psalmist?
  7. What does the language imply about the emotional swing within the Psalmists heart?
  8. Why does the author of this Psalm become so joyful?
  9. Verses 3, 8 and 10 speak of mercy, what mercy does the psalmist desire and experience?
  10. What does this text reveal to us about dealing with distress and depression?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
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K11 – Joy in God’s Shelter – Psalm 94: 16-19

Key Words: Joy, God’s Protection, Providence, Faith, Gratitude

  1. What has God done in David’s life that brings him consolation and joy?
  2. Do you believe Christians receive provision and protection from God?
  3. Why are God’s provision and protection a great source of Christian joy?
  4. How much of God’s working on our behalf do you think we really see or comprehend?
  5. How much of what we do see do we ignore or take for granted?
  6. Why must David depend on the Lord for protection rather than himself?
  7. Why does the Lord’s protection bring him joy?
  8. How must we depend on the Lord for protection?
  9. How does an appreciation of God’s protection in our lives lead to joy?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
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K12 – Joy in God’s Promises – Jeremiah 31: 10-14

Key Words: Joy, Promise, Faith, Prophecy, Hope, Blessing

  1. This promise to Israel takes place during the exile after God’s people have been conquered, ravaged and plundered. Describe the mentality and general outlook of people who experience such calamities.
  2. Describe how God says he will bless the people when he brings them together once again.
  3. Who does this text indicate is the source of material blessings and prosperity?
  4. Why did God give this prophecy to the people and what impact do you suppose it had on them?
  5. Do you suppose they found comfort and joy in the promise of joy to come… explain?
  6. What promises do Christians have of a future and a hope?
  7. Who is the source of our material blessings?
  8. Why should God’s promises cause us to rejoice in the Lord?
  9. What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
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Joy in our Salvation

K13 – Christmas Joy – Luke 2:8-20

Key Words: Joy, Christmas, Messiah, Good News, Incarnation, Angels

  1. Israel had been waiting for the Messiah, why do you suppose the proclamation of his birth is given to shepherds: who were poor and often despised in their culture?
  2. Why is the proclamation of the birth of Christ good news for the shepherds?
  3. Why is the proclamation of the birth of Christ good news for all people?
  4. What expressions of joy do the angels in the text express because of the birth of Christ?
  5. What did the angels understand that made this event a really big deal for them?
  6. Do you think the shepherds fully understood the implications of what was happening?
  7. Do any of us truly understand the full implications of the coming of Jesus?
  8. According to the text, what emotions do the shepherds display?
  9. Do you think that our culture is losing the wonder and joy of Christmas… explain?
  10. How and why should we live more joyful because Jesus has come?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
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K14 – Christ Desires Joy for His People – John 17:13

Key Words: Joy, Prayer, Purpose, Salvation

  1. When and where is this prayer taking place?
  2. What is the significance of this prayer?
  3. Why might Christ’s final prayer reflect most what is on his heart?
  4. Among other things, what is Christ’s desire for his followers?
  5. Does it surprise you that Jesus desires we experience the fullness of his joy?
  6. What is meant by the fullness of his joy?
  7. What is the basis for this joy?
  8. What is Jesus about to do (from his perspective in this passage) to secure this joy?
  9. Do most Christians experience this joy?
  10. Do most Christians act as if they are truly joyful? Do you?
  11. How is being a discouraged and dispirited Christian a blemish on our testimony?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
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K15 – Faith Inspires Joy – 1 Peter 1:3-9

Key Words: Joy, Faith, Trials

  1. Explain why the theme of these verses is joy?
  2. What is the source of the joy Peter is talking about?
  3. Why is this joy stronger than our trials?
  4. Why does the text say we can rejoice in trials?
  5. Why is salvation a steady and unquenchable source of genuine joy?
  6. How does authentic faith impact our capacity for joy?
  7. What happens to our joy when our faith is lacking?
  8. What happens when our faith is strong?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
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K16 – The Kingdom Inspires Joy – Matthew 13:44

Key Words: Joy, Kingdom of God, Lordship, Self-Denial, Happiness

  1. What is the Kingdom of Heaven (see Matthew 6:10)?
  2. Why is the kingdom so valuable?
  3. How does immersing ourselves in God’s reign satisfy the desires and needs of our humanity: love, peace, meaning, significance, and so on?
  4. What does the parable mean when it says the man sold all he had to obtain the Kingdom?
  5. How do most people respond when they learn that Christ demands a complete and total surrender in order to genuinely follow him?
  6. How can anyone possibly feel joy when giving complete control of their lives to another?
  7. What is the source of this joy?
  8. Why is giving our life for his life (the life he offers) a crazy good bargain?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
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K17 – The Gospel Inspires Joy – Colossians 1: 21-27

Key Words: Joy, Gospel, Hope, Happiness

  1. How does Paul describe the gospel in this passage?
  2. What is the gospel?
  3. What mystery has been hidden throughout the ages?
  4. Why is this mystery such good news for the people of Colossae?
  5. Why is it such good news for us?
  6. List all the various implications of the gospel Paul describes in this passage.
  7. Why does Paul indicate the gospel should be a wellspring of hope and joy?
  8. Do you see this dynamic expressed in the hearts and lives of the believers you know?
  9. What is your response to a chronically negative and unhappy Christian?
  10. Do you experience this joy dynamic in your heart and life?
  11. How can you experience more of the joy this text is talking about?
  • Think before answering 
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Hope

K18 – Rejoicing in Our Destiny – Romans 12:12

Key Words: Joy, Heaven, Hope, Perspective, Hardship, Suffering

  1. What does it mean to be joyful in hope?
  2. What is the hope we have as Christians?
  3. Describe our hope regarding the following concepts: Heaven… Seeing God… seeing deceased loved ones… sin… evil… sadness and suffering… peace… love… truth… limitations and imperfections… injustice… others?
  4. What do you personally most look forward to regarding the future and afterlife?
  5. In what ways is hope a game changer regarding our ability to embrace and enjoy life?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
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K19 – Strength in Hope – 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3

Key Words: Joy, Works, Hope, Hardship

  1. What do the words “work,” “labor,” and “endurance” imply about the ease or lack of ease experienced by the Thessalonian church?
  2. How does this text enhance our understanding of 1 Corinthians 13:13?
  3. What quality does Paul indicate best enables us to endure when times are tough?
  4. Hope in what?
  5. Is this hope temporal or eternal in nature, or a little of both?
  6. What is the nature of a hope that sustains us when we face potentially crippling circumstances?
  7. How does hope factor into to your response to difficulties and hardships in your life?
  8. How should hope factor into difficulties and hardships in your life?
  •  Seek Nuance
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K20 – Hope in Service to Others – 1 Thessalonians 2: 17-20

Key Words: Joy, Hope, Service, Rewards, Crowns, Spiritual Community, Spiritual Fruit

  1. What does Paul’s language reveal about his feelings for the Thessalonian church?
  2. What can we discern from this passage about his relationship with them?
  3. How did the Thessalonian church impact Paul’s hope and joy?
  4. How might others be our hope, joy and crown when we stand before God?
  5. What might it mean to glory in such relationships and fruit as the text indicates Paul will do in the presence of God?
  6. How do people and relationships ultimately express the fruit and impact of our lives?
  7. How can we experience hope and joy through our relationship with God’s people?
  8. How do fruitful relationships enhance our hope of affirmation and reward from God?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
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K21 – Hope in Ultimate Victory – Revelation 19

Key Words: Joy, Victory, Hope, Kingdom of God, Righteousness, Judgment, Justice,

  1. Why does the earth rejoice with the return of Christ?
  2. How do current forces work against the goodness, peace, joy and righteousness of God’s Kingdom: Sin… Satan… Brokenness… Suffering… Hatred… Greed… Lust… Pride… Selfishness?
  3. How are God’s creation and people impacted and frustrated by these forces?
  4. Why does righteousness demand justice against the destructive forces of evil?
  5. How are judgment and justice tied together?
  6. Why is ultimate justice a source of incredible hope?
  7. Does it bring you comfort to know that the wrongs in your life will be made right in the end?
  8. How should Christ’s future victory over evil impact how we currently live?
  9. How should Christ’s future victory over evil give us confidence, perspective, hope and joy?
  • Remember there are additional studies in the Key Scriptures section
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K22 – Hope in the Paradise to Come – Revelation 21:1 – 22:6

Key Words: Joy, Heaven, Hope, Victory, God’s People, Beauty

  1. How does your soul respond to this text: what feelings and emotions does it inspire?
  2. How does verse three express resolution and completion of God’s design for people?
  3. How do we see the theme “They will be my people and I will be their God” expressed through the entire Bible?
  4. What is the old order of things that verse 4 speaks of?
  5. How does verse 3 express the implications of the new order of things?
  6. Which aspect of the New Jerusalem do you most long for?
  7. Why do you suppose God included this passage in his word?
  8. How do the realities of our future paradise impact your current life and problems?
  9. Why is it beneficial for Christians to live in constant awareness and anticipation of God’s future kingdom?
  • Remember there are other learning and scripture studies in the Growing Exercises section
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K23 – Hope in Suffering and Hardship – 2 Corinthian 4: 7-12

Key Words: Joy, Suffering, Hardship, Hope, Victory, Dying to Self

  1. What is the treasure we have in our jars of clay (our mortal bodies)?
  2. How does clay refer to our creation, mortality and limitations?
  3. What is the irony of these jars of clay containing the all-surpassing power of God?
  4. How does this irony provide hope within or in the midst of our sufferings and hardships?
  5. How does this text juxtapose expectation and hope with severe hardships and trials?
  6. How does Paul express a righteous defiance against the forces that seek him harm?
  7. How is Christ able to shine through when we are at the end of ourselves?
  8. What does Paul mean when he says that carrying around the death of Christ ultimately brings life instead?
  9. How does dying to self result in both strength and hope to our lives?

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GROWING EXERCISES

  1. Make an exhaustive list of all the ways God has blessed you.
  1. Spend at least 15 minutes per day for the next two weeks praising and worshipping God.
  1. Spend an entire day without complaining about a single thing. If you fail, try again.  Keep it up until you can get through an entire day without a single complaint or negative comment.
  1. For the next two weeks, whenever anyone asks how you are doing, say, “Great!!! or “I am blessed.”
  1. List five things you would attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail.
  1. Make a list of your five greatest struggles in life and how God can use them to strengthen you and make you more spiritually mature.
  1. Do something to intentionally bring joy to the life of another. Think Ebenezer Scrooge after his visit from the four spirits.  Carefully note how you feel when you see that other person respond.  Does bring joy to others bring you joy?  What does thins teach you about life and about how you live your life?
  1. Attempt something you have been putting off because you are skeptical regarding your potential success. It can be anything: losing weight, joining a sports league, making a new friend, serving in church, or reading the Bible all the way through.  Be sure it is something tangible.  Ensure your attitude is right and go for it.
  1. Embark on a mission trip or service project among people who are far less fortunate than you. Keep a daily journal about how these people impact you.  How do they live?  How happy do they seem?  In what ways were your eyes opened today?  In what ways are you truly blessed?
  1. Examine and build your base of support. Do you have people in your life who support you, encourage you and hold you accountable?  Do you have access to any healthy, joyful and spiritually mature individuals willing to be your friend, mentor or teacher?  Do you have strong Christian friends?  Are you regularly involved in a good Bible study or small group?  Are you connected relationally in a good church?  These are important questions for everyone, but especially for people who struggle with discouragement.  If your spiritual community is lacking, then take the initiative to get more involved.  Take the initiative to befriend other strong believers.  You may need to make friends at church, work, and in your neighborhood.  It’s hard to live the Christian life alone.  We need to lift one another up.

RECOMMENDED READING

  1. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
  2. You Gotta Keep Dancing by Tim Hansel
  3. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  4. Desiring God by John Piper
  5. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  6. The Pilgrims Progress – John Bunyan
  7. Choose Joy by Kay Warren
  8. Can I Have Joy in My Life? By R.C. Sproul
  9. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun – Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, (Readings on Celebration, worship, justice, gratitude, unplugging and appendix 6)