3 Bible Verses for Joy

A Frank Voice is a writing ministry based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Encouraging, but candid words about faith, family, and fostering. Our staff + foster families love going through their devotionals, and we wanted to highlight an excerpt from their latest blog…read below!

Joy can often be an elusive thing for us in this life.

When, at every turn, we’re greeted with death, destruction, and despair, it can be difficult to find joy in our daily lives. And that’s just a product of a broken and fallen world.

But Scripture gives us much to consider on the matter of joy and where to find it. Maybe you’re an avid and faithful reader of Scripture and were looking for just the right verse, or maybe you’ve landed on this list by chance from a desperate Google search.

Either way, I’m glad you’re here. I hope you’ll spend the next few minutes with me as we dive into the subject of joy.

John 15:11

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

In John 15, we’re in the midst of some of Jesus’ final teachings to His disciples.

In just a few short chapters, we move from this moment on to the crucifixion. And thats part of what makes this particular passage such a powerful teaching on the subject of Joy. And really, in the surrounding context, joy isn’t even the main idea.

By this point, Jesus has already told his disciples that one would betray Him. He’s already foretold of Peter’s denial. By this point, the disciples had already been told of Jesus’ impending death.

Imagine the tension and turmoil that must have accompanied those final days. Just placing ourselves in the position of the disciples, it’s hard to imagine. Now consider what Jesus must have experienced.

Yet, in the midst of that, He delivers one of the most poignant teachings on joy which can effectively be summarized: if you will live according to my words and my commands, if you will walk with me – abide in me, you will be filled with joy.

It’s truly that simple.

You will never be more fulfilled, more satisfied, or more joyful than when you are walking in faithfulness and obedience to God.

Remember Jesus today, and let the joy that comes from knowing Him fill your heart and mind.

Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

I can think of perhaps only a couple other people in Scripture that stand shoulder to shoulder with Paul in his steadfast resolve and ability to maintain his joy (at least insofar as we can ascertain from scripture). So what better examples to draw from then a book that Paul wrote?

Paul likely wrote Philippians during his first imprisonment. Though the book is shorter, and lacking in some of the lengthy examinations of theology that we get from books such as Romans, it was generally an encouragement to the church of Philippi.

What may be most notable about this letter of Paul’s, however, is the joyful undertone throughout.

Despite the fact that he wrote this letter from prison, he writes of his joy at least 11 times throughout the four short chapters.

Paul gives us a glimpse into the source of his hope in 3:12-14, particularly this sentence; “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” This echoes his sentiment from 1:21, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Paul so desperately pursued Christlikeness that in life, he abided in Christ (as we covered in the passage from John 15!) but he also rested in the fact that no matter how much joy he was able to derive from abiding in Christ, a second, far surpassing joy awaited him on the other side of any of the horrors this life may hold.

Let your life exemplify an enduring joy today.

Nehemiah 8:10

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

There’s no shortage of Scripture throughout the New Testament pointing us towards joy. Which makes sense, right? After all, the New Testament begins with the fulfillment of all that God had promised through the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.

But what about the Old Testament? Surely we can find some examples there, right? You betcha.

One constant throughout the Old Testament is Israel’s disobedience toward God. All throughout, we see examples where the Lord gives commands, and the folly of His people as they attempt to take their own path.

Nehemiah finds us during a period of obedience for God’s people, and this section of scripture in particular comes as Ezra is reading the Book of the Law to the people (a practice which was to be carried out every seven years during The Feast of Booths, but had been neglected).

The people, having just heard the books of the Law, and being confronted with their egregious neglect and violation of it, were moved to sorrow. But the people were comforted by Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites as they explained that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Basically, the same God who punishes sin also blesses and delights in obedience. So the same knowledge of the Law was the same knowledge that would set them free to walk in obedience, and delight in doing the will of God.

Remember that when you are weak, the joy that comes from the Lord can be your strength.