Read | Acts 16:16-34
Paul wrote extensively about spiritual joy and knew it was attainable even in dire situations. That's because it originates with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
But believers can lose their gladness for several reasons:
• Wrong focus. Paul and Silas were able to praise God despite severe trials because they centered on Jesus. Concentrating on our difficulties will cause delight to disappear. Refocusing through praise will bring it back.
• Disobedience. Sin steals our joy because it separates us from the Lord. As we receive His forgiveness and obey Him, joy returns.
• Regret. We crowd out gladness when we continue to feel bad about past mistakes. God wants us to believe that He forgives us (1 John 1:9). He also desires that we choose to live in His grace and move ahead.
• Fear. Too often we let concerns about the future dictate our mood. With so much outside our control, we become afraid. Joy and fear cannot coexist. The Lord calls us to live by faith, asking Him to meet today's needs and trusting Him with the future.
• Someone else's suffering. How can we rejoice when others are hurting? The Bible says we are to weep with them (Rom. 12:15), but we are also to offer the hope of God's presence, power, and provision. A downcast spirit is a poor witness for hope. (Ps. 42:11)
Because he had been through the "fires" of beatings, rejections, and arrests, the apostle Paul was qualified to write that confident gladness is possible for any surrendered believer. Are you lacking joy? Fix your gaze on the Savior and let His joy become yours.