If only life were one long vacation, where no pain could penetrate our heart, and time would stop long enough for us to fully embrace the moment and be thankful. Then it would be easier to maintain our joy. But life has a way of wearing us down, and we find ourselves grappling with fear, shattered dreams, the disastrous effects of sin, circumstances that erode our peace, and prayers that seem to go unanswered. We should follow David’s example and cry out to God to “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Psalm 51:12). In Psalm 51, we find these keys to restoring joy:
1. Disinfect Your Spirit
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (verse 7). Joy is always in direct proportion to our spiritual condition. There can be no restoration of joy apart from cleansing our spirit. Notice that David did not ask God for a superficial rinse, but a much deeper removal of sin’s stains. In verse 17, David said that God would not despise a broken and contrite heart. A broken spirit is a repenting spirit. And repentance is a clear highway to the heart of God. It might seem strange to think that joy can come from a humbling, bone-crushing experience, but it is the only path to true joy. There is no Psalm 51:8 rejoicing without a Psalm 51:4 repentance.
2. Digest God’s Word
“You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (verse 6, NKJV). Joy is a product of the gospel, not of our circumstances. Without salvation in Jesus Christ, there would be no joy, only temporary happiness. When we find ourselves battling despair, it is critical to go directly to the source of truth (the Bible).The path to joy begins with trusting God’s character, and the path to knowing God’s character is knowing His Word (John 15:10–11). Click To Tweet
Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (15:16). The path to joy begins with trusting God’s character, and the path to knowing God’s character is knowing His Word (John 15:10–11). God’s Word shifts our emotions and pain into a right perspective, freeing us to experience the joy that is always available in Jesus (Isaiah 12:2–3).
3. Dwell in God’s Presence
“Uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (verse 12, NKJV). What gives you your deepest joy? What God gives you? Or what God is to you? Joy is the fruit of a Spirit-controlled life (Galatians 5:22). To produce the fruit of joy, we must stay connected to Jesus.
It is the vine that sustains the branch and produces the fruit of the Spirit, which includes joy.
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” It is the vine that sustains the branch and produces the fruit of the Spirit, which includes joy. You will not cease to be joyful unless you cease to yield to God’s Spirit. Experiencing fullness of joy depends on being saturated with His presence (Psalm 16:11; Galatians 5:24–25).
4. Declare Your Testimony
“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” (verse 13, NKJV). Although we have received salvation, it’s not fully satisfying until we share it. In Revelation 12:11, the victorious life is characterized by “the blood of the Lamb” applied in redemption and “the word of their testimony” in action. The blood of Jesus saves us, but our testimony activates the joy of salvation. Getting this right with God was key to David’s effectiveness. Notice David’s outward response to the restoration of joy (Psalm 51:13-15). He promised to teach transgressors the ways of God and sing aloud the righteousness of God. The Christian life is not a selfish, inactive life. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Go and serve. Share the gospel. It will not only restore the joy of your salvation, it will restore the souls of others.
(A version of this article was published in Reflections. To subscribe, click here.)
Julie Long shares a joyful life with her husband, Peter, in New Brunswick, Canada, where they pastor the Pentecostals of Miramichi. They are the proud parents of Tyler and Madison. She serves as the Atlantic District Ladies Ministries president.
Resources and Links
Women of the Spirit Bible Study: Joy – These volumes are designed for women who desire to walk in the Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:16, 25. This multi-volume Bible study is created to help women grow, mature, and become more like Christ. A relationship with God and His Word should supersede all other relationships.