How to Get Joy and Peace and Hope

There’s this idea out there that, unfortunately, I think is biblical. It’s that Christians are supposed to be marked by joy and peace and hope, no matter what’s happening in their lives (Romans 12:12, John 16:33, Romans 8:25).

You optimists are probably wondering why I find this idea unfortunate. These are rich benefits of being a believer, you might say. And while I agree, possessing these characteristics would be wonderful, most of the time, I don’t.

I am a whole-hearted follower of Christ who is rarely joyful, hardly ever filled with peace, and almost always feeling hopeless about one thing or another.

So when scripture tells me I should have joy and peace and hope, and I don’t, I feel discouraged.  

And today I think I discovered why.

Turns out it’s not my job to manufacture joy or peace or hope. I don’t have to conjure it up out of sheer will. I don’t have to “make it happen” in order to obey the Lord. I’m not expected to “look within” and find these things, like they’re being stored on the top shelf of my soul somewhere, and all I have to do is find them and dust them off.

On the contrary, it’s actually God’s job to fill the Christian with joy and peace and hope.

Paul gives a prayer/blessing of sorts to the Romans and says, “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,” (Romans 15:13).

Yeah, so the onus is on Him, not us. This makes me feel a lot better.

According to this verse, “all” you and I have to do is trust in Him. The “rest” – the filling with joy and peace and the overflowing of hope – that’s all God. He produces those things in us as we trust in Him.

For me, trusting God feels a lot easier than coming up with feelings of joy and peace and hope that just aren’t there. Maybe because trust is more of an action than a feeling? When well-meaning clueless people tell me to just “choose” to be joyful, I slap them in my mind. But trusting – there’s something I can choose to do.

The Bible is one story after another of how trustworthy God is. It’s ripe with verses about His goodness and His sovereignty. If there’s one thing I am convinced of, it’s His dependability.

I don’t know how to make myself feel something I don’t, but I know how to say, “Lord, I trust you with _____,” over and over again. And when I do that, feelings of joy and peace and hope will follow.

The next time you’re low on joy and peace and hope, don’t focus on those things. They don’t come from you. Put your energy into trusting God, and He will do the rest. 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “How to Get Joy and Peace and Hope

  1. Hello,like your post

    See the trouble with Christians is that a lot of us are not honest when it comes to feeling sad and down.
    Everybody is happy to talk about the problem and how the breakthrough came and no one really says anything about how treacherous the inbetween was.

    If we took examples from the people who followed God in the bible we can see how in turmoil their lives and undoubtedly their emotions were.So don’t tell me to be happy when I should be angry,(Eph 4:26: be angry but sin not) the word recognises we can feel a certain way and as long it’s not sinful or sin comes out of it.

    Seek guidance from The Lord on everything you do/feel he will guide you through.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s