Four Ways of Thinking that will Shipwreck Your Joy

Would you like to have more joy?

Who wouldn’t say, “YES!” to that question? That’s like asking, would you like more syrup on your waffles, or would you like a raise on your paycheck?

Of course!

Deep down people are longing, even hungry, for more joy. Not the external, momentary happy moments, but an internal, lasting joy. A joy that brings a smile to your face engaging the simple things of life. A joy that gives peace in the middle of the storm. A joy that rejoices with those who rejoice and seeks the good of others around you.

We all long for a little more joy, but where do we find it? How can we discover more joy in life?

Let me share something that may turn your view of joy upside down.

What if joy isn’t something you find, but something you lose?

What if joy isn't something you find, but something you lose? Click To Tweet

Read carefully. As a follower of Jesus Christ… You. Have. Joy.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11) You see through Christ, we are given the fullness of His joy! As we seek to follow Him, our joy is made full, which means there’s no room for more joy. You can’t add more to what’s already full!

Furthermore, joy is a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. As we live by the Spirit, joy is naturally produced and evident in our lives.

So here’s the point.

Joy isn’t something you find, it’s something you lose.

We have a very real enemy who seeks to steal our joy. (John 10:10) We must be on guard (1 Peter 5:8) against the enemy from intruding our lives to steal away our joy. Here are three things he uses, to steal your joy.

1. Legalism.

LegalismĀ invades your life and steals your joy by whispering things like:

  • “You have to do it this way.”
  • “You don’t measure up.”
  • “You’re not good enough.”
  • “You always fail.”

The truth is we aren’t good enough, and we never will be. That’s why we need Jesus!

For the church, legalism distracts away from the mission to focus more on the method.

It robs your joy by diverting your attention away from the freedom you have in Christ and prioritizing man-made traditions. It’s getting riled up over the color of the walls or the selection of songs while remaining apathetic toward those who don’t yet know the love of Christ.

2. Criticism.

One sure fire way to lose your joy is by listening to your critics and being critical of others. Say things like:

  • “You’re doing it wrong.”
  • “You’re too ____.”
  • “That will never work.”

There are times and places for constructive criticism, but destructive criticism is just a way for others to feel better about themselves. Don’t let the critique from others stop you from pursuing your God-given purpose. Furthermore, constantly criticizing others will also diminish your joy.

3. Cynicism.

Cynicism depletes the joy in your life by saying things like:

  • “I don’t trust you.”
  • “I’m bitter towards your success.”
  • “Why doesn’t that ever happen to me.”

A cynics heart grows hard as he/she loses trust in other people, and grows bitter towards other people’s success. It’s basically wallowing in your own misery. Cynicism inhibits you from obeying the command to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). There is no joy in being cynical.

4. Egotism.

Egotism is the prideful way to lose your joy. It says things like:

  • “I deserve better than this.”
  • “What can you do for me.”

Egotism places you at the center of the universe, and everyone else becomes a pawn in your little game. You’ll never be full of joy until you discover the life-giving joy that comes through serving others. Jesus said, “If you want to be the greatest, become the least.” (Luke 22:26)


Remember: Joy isn’t something you find, but something you lose. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Realize the joy you already have through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

And never let go of it!