What is Christian Joy? + Free Philippians Study {and Giveaway}

On November 2, 2020, we will release a brand new FREE Online Bible Study entitled, “JoyFULL: A 3-Week Study of Philippians.” If you are struggling to find enduring joy in your earthly circumstance, this Bible study is for you!

In today’s article, we will unpack the biblical secret of Christian joy. We will also invite you to pre-register for our upcoming study and encourage you to participate in an awesome limited-time giveaway.

Christian woman in field holding a Bible seeking Christian joy

The Psalms are filled with spontaneous joy, personal adoration, and anticipation of the fullness of God’s salvation (Ps 16:8-9).

The gospel accounts are laden with professions of joy as the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is shared (Lk 2:10).

Christ, himself, declares that He came to give His joy to us (Jn 15:11) and encourages us to ask God to make our joy complete (Jn 16:24).

The disciples experienced the joy of fellowship with the Holy Spirit (Act 13:52). The early church experienced joy when miracles were performed in the name of Christ (Act 8:7-8) and when the Gentiles came to saving knowledge of our Lord (Act 15:3). 

But, it is the Apostle Paul who truly unpacks the concept of Christian joy for us in the book of Philippians.

The Apostle Paul unpacks the concept of Christian joy for us in the book of Philippians.Click to Tweet

Before we dig into the Bible’s teaching on joy, let’s establish a working definition of the term.

The Lexham Theological Workbook defines joy as, “the sense or state of gladness or elation that people experience through their relationship with God and through good things in their lives.”

The Lexham Bible Dictionary clarifies that “joy is more a state of being than an emotion; a result of choice.”

Approximately ten Hebrew and Greek terms are translated as “joy” in our English Bibles. The most common are:

  • The Hebrew שִׂמְחָה (simchah)—meaning “joy,” “mirth,” or “gladness” along with the closely related verbal adjective שָׂמֵחַ (sameach).
  • The Greek χαρά (chara)—meaning “joy” or “gladness” and the closely related verbal form, χαίρω (chairō), meaning “to rejoice or be glad.”

Christian joy is more a state of being than an emotion; it is the result of choice.Click to Tweet

joyful Christian woman in a field at sunset

What Does the Bible Teach About Christian Joy?

The Bible tells us that strength and joy are found in God’s presence (1 Chr 16:27). Galatians lists joy as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and Thessalonians commands us to rejoice always (1 Th 5:16).

Jesus found great joy in his relationship with the Father (Lk 10:21) and promises to give joy to His people (Jn 17:13). To repent of our sin and turn from wickedness brings great joy to God (Jn 17:13).

Joy is most likely to be experienced by believers as they worship God (Lk 24:52), peace-makers (Pr 12:20), the wise (Pr 15:23), the just (Pr 21:15), and parents of good children (Pr 23:24). 

Joy is the fruit of a right relationship with God; it is not something we can create by our own efforts. In Christ, we can experience joy that is abundant (2 Cor 8:2), exceeding (Ps 68:3), unspeakable (1 Pet 1:8), and secure (Jn 16:22).

Christian joy is the fruit of a right relationship with God; it is not something we can create by our own efforts.Click to Tweet

As Christians, we have access to God’s joy even when we are experiencing sorrow (2 Cor 6:10), trials (1 Pet 1:6), persecution (Heb 10:34), or calamities (Hab 3:17-18). 

God is the originator of joy on earth, and Christians are called to rejoice in His presence and faithfulness. Joy is a unique, identifying mark of the Christian life, both corporately and individually.

The source of authentic, consistent joy is found in Christ alone (Phil 4:4).

Christian joy is not merely an emotion, rather it is a gift from God (Rom 15:13), sourced in His character and empowered by His promises.

The fullness of joy is found in God’s presence (Ps 16:11), and belief in God is the only thing on earth that can fill our hearts with this inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:8). 

Romans 15:13 establishes a connection between joy, hope, and peace. Psalm 42:4 unites joy with thanksgiving, and Psalm 81:1-2 reminds us that joy is best communicated with songs of praise to our God.

Although joy can naturally arise from happy circumstances, there are many reasons for Christians to rejoice, even when life is full of suffering and difficulty. 

We rejoice because God has delivered us from sin.
We rejoice because God is good, and right, and just.
We rejoice because God invites us to be in His family.

Although joy can naturally arise from happy circumstances, there are many reasons for Christians to rejoice, even when life is full of suffering and difficulty. Click to Tweet

Group of friends outside -- Christian joy

Philippians: Our Manual for Joyful Living

In the Bible, joy is inexplicably linked to suffering and continually contrasted with sorrow. It is God-given, gospel-driven, Spirit-empowered, and heaven-focused.

Christian joy is a gift from God. It is the result of the gospel, produced by the Holy Spirit, and strengthened by studying God’s Word.

If you are struggling to find joy in your daily life, I invite you to join me for “JoyFULL,” a free three-week study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul shares the secret of unshakeable peace and unfathomable joy in every circumstance. 

In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul shares the secret of unshakeable peace and unfathomable joy in every circumstance.Click to Tweet

Hardship and suffering did not steal Paul’s joy because he was not looking to his circumstances for comfort, peace, and fulfillment—he was looking to Christ!

Throughout his letter, the message is clear: If I suffer, it is for Christ! If I am satisfied, it is because of Christ! Whatever comes my way, I will fix my eyes upon my Savior and face it with joyful endurance and eternal thankfulness.

Even though the theme of the book of Philippians is Christian joy, the subject of the book is Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul refers to Christ more than 50 times in just 104 verses.

In this manual for joyful living, we will uncover the secret of Christian joy—Christ’s joy in us forevermore. 

As we begin to understand what it means to live and breathe and exist “in Christ”, we will begin to experience a kind of joy this world cannot replicate.

Enduring, enlightening, emboldening, and everlasting joy!

JoyFULL: A Free Study of Philippians | Christian Joy

This e-mail based Bible Study consists of fifteen lessons delivered over the course of three weeks and includes Scripture readings, devotionals, shareable graphics, and digital gifts from our Creative Partners. 

 
You will receive a welcome e-mail within fifteen minutes of registering and the first devotional will arrive in your inbox on November 2, 2020.
 

To celebrate the release of our Fall Bible study, we have partnered with several talented Christian creatives to offer an exclusive giveaway bundle worth more than $150. This giveaway runs from October 13-19 and there are many ways to enter! Open to USA residents only. 

This week’s giveaway bundle features a Handpainted Bible from Madison Carey {Sparrows & Wildflowers}, a Joy Necklace from Lisa McKenny {Love Squared Designs}, a copy of Daily Acts of Friendship from Kristin, Kendra, and Julie {The Ruth Experience}, and an Apple Harvest Candle from Michele Carlton {The Good Stuff Candles}. Check back next week for another JoyFULL Giveaway!

Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope and pray that you will choose to join us for this lifechanging study.

I believe that God is abundantly good and enduringly faithful. In Christ, He has given us unlimited access to His unwavering joy.

Although this joy does not rescue us from our affliction, it imparts the comfort of Christ into our problems.

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About the Author: Sarah Koontz

About the Author: Sarah Koontz

Sarah Koontz is the founder of Living by Design Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to deliver free Bible Studies to inboxes around the world. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah and her husband Ryan live on thirteen acres in the heart of the Black Hills, SD. They have two beautiful daughters, a rowdy flock of chickens, and a house full of foster kittens. Sarah is an avid gardener, a faithful coffee drinker, lover of one-pot-dinners, an unexpected homeschooler, and a Dallas Seminary student.

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