What Does the Bible Say About Losing Your Joy?

Joy is a central theme throughout the Bible. As Christians, we are called to live with joy, despite our circumstances. However, it’s easy for our joy to be stolen from us or diminished. Life inevitably brings pain, suffering, disappointment and grief. During these seasons, it can feel impossible to experience joy.

What does the Bible say about losing our joy during the difficult seasons of life? How can we regain our joy after it’s been lost? Let’s explore what scripture teaches us.

Key Takeaways:

  • Trials and suffering will come, but we can have joy in the midst of them through Christ.
  • Sin steals our joy, so confession and repentance are needed to restore it.
  • Placing our hope and identity in anything other than Christ will lead us to lose joy.
  • Practicing gratitude, praise and loving others helps us maintain our joy in Christ.
  • The Holy Spirit produces joy in us as we abide in Christ through prayer and His word.
  • Our joy is made complete when we fix our eyes on Jesus and eternal life with Him.

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Trials and Suffering Will Come, But We Can Have Joy Through Christ

Life is filled with trials, pain and suffering. When we face difficulties, we can easily lose our joy. However, the Bible clearly teaches that trials will come, but we can still have joy in the midst of them through relying on Christ. As James 1:2-4 (NKJV) tells us:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James instructs believers to “count it all joy” when we face trials. This doesn’t mean trials themselves are joyful, but we can have inner joy despite our difficult circumstances. This joy comes from knowing God is using our trials to test and strengthen our faith. As we rely on Christ during difficulties, our character is refined.

In John 16:33 (NKJV), Jesus told his disciples:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Jesus didn’t sugarcoat the fact that His followers would face trouble in this world. But in the midst of it, He calls us to still “be of good cheer.” Our joy is not dependent on our circumstances being pleasant or comfortable. Our joy comes from Christ who has “overcome the world.” Through faith in Him, we can have supernatural joy and peace even during tribulations.

The apostle Paul provides a great example of having joy in suffering. In Philippians 1:12-14 (NKJV), he wrote:

“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

Although Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, he continued to have joy because he saw how God was using his circumstances. Despite his chains, the gospel was advancing, giving Paul joy.

Through union with Christ, the Holy Spirit produces supernatural joy within us despite our trials. As we walk closely with Jesus, we can have joy even when facing difficulty, pain, or sorrow.

Sin Steals Our Joy, So Confession and Repentance Are Needed to Restore It

Sin damages our relationship with God and steals our joy. When we harbor unconfessed sin in our hearts, it disrupts our intimacy with Christ. But through confession, repentance and accepting God’s forgiveness, our fellowship with Him is restored and our joy returns. As David wrote in Psalm 51:12 (NKJV) after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba:

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

David had allowed his sin to rob him of the joy he once had in the Lord. After being confronted by the prophet Nathan, David repented with a broken and contrite heart. He pleads with God to restore the joy of salvation that he had lost.

This pattern is seen throughout the Christian life. When we wander from the Lord into sin, we lose our joy, hope and peace that comes from abiding in Christ. Through heartfelt confession, repentance and receiving God’s mercy, the joy of our salvation returns once again. Regular examination of our hearts and lives helps us to quickly repent when needed, preserving our joy.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the wayward young son loses all joy once he leaves his father and wastes his inheritance on wild living. Only after coming to his senses, admitting his sin and returning home is his joy restored through the grace-filled welcome of his loving father (Luke 15:11-24).

Likewise, when we turn from sin back to God, He removes our guilt and shame, embraces us as His beloved children and restores our joy through the Spirit at work within us. Our part is to walk in obedience and surrender to Christ, allowing the Spirit to produce His fruit of love, joy and peace in our lives.

Placing Our Hope and Identity in Anything Other Than Christ Will Lead to Losing Joy

As humans, we’re prone to seek our identity, meaning and purpose in things other than Christ – our success, relationships, reputation, comfort or moral behavior. When our security and happiness depends on anything but Jesus, our joy quickly fades.

Jesus speaks to this in His teaching in Matthew 13:44-46 (NKJV):

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

These parables teach that the kingdom of heaven is so valuable that we should be willing to give up everything else for the joy and treasure of knowing Christ. If our hope and security rests in anything other than Jesus, our joy will be at risk.

The apostle Paul counted everything as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. In Philippians 3:8-9 he says:

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;”

Paul found no joy in his own efforts and righteousness. He only had fullness of joy in pursuing intimacy with Jesus above all else. This must be our posture as well. All that we cling to outside of Christ for security, identity and purpose will ultimately disappoint us and lead us to lose our joy in Him.

Practicing Gratitude, Praise and Loving Others Helps Us Maintain Our Joy in Christ

Once we place our complete hope and trust in Christ, relying on Him as the source of our joy, how do we practically maintain our joy daily? The Bible points to three essential practices that help sustain our joy: gratitude, praise and loving others.

First, nurturing a heart of gratitude keeps our focus on the blessings of Christ rather than our circumstances. As 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV) instructs us:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Practicing thankfulness in all situations trains our hearts to see God’s grace at work around us, fueling our joy.

Second, praising God realigns our minds away from our troubles onto the goodness and faithfulness of our Savior. Lifting our eyes to Jesus in worship restores joy when life becomes difficult. James 5:13 (NKJV) says:

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.”

Third, focusing on loving and serving others directs us away from our own disappointments and problems. Showing Christ’s love to those around us reminds us of our purpose, which produces joy. As Jesus said in John 15:11-12 (NKJV):

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Gratitude, praise and loving others are practices that help us maintain our joy in the daily struggles of life.

The Holy Spirit Produces Joy in Us as We Abide in Christ Through Prayer and His Word

As Christians, our joy is not self-manufactured but produced by the Holy Spirit working within us. As we yield control of our lives to Christ through prayer, worship and obeying His Word, the Spirit cultivates His fruit in us – the first listed being love, followed by joy (Galatians 5:22-23).

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would bring joy to believers who abide in close relationship with Him. In John 15:10-11 (NKJV) He tells His disciples:

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Our part is to abide in Jesus, walking in love and obedience to His commands. As we do, the Holy Spirit nourishes joy within us. Even in the midst of sorrow or pain, we can know the deep abiding joy of Christ through the Spirit’s work in our hearts.

In Romans 15:13 (NKJV), Paul prays for the Christians in Rome saying:

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul knew confidently that God would fill them with joy through the Holy Spirit as they placed their faith in Christ. This same joy-producing power of the Spirit lives in every believer who walks closely with Jesus.

As we surrender control to the Spirit through prayer, worship, obeying God’s Word and community with other believers, He will bear His fruit of love and joy within us. Even when circumstances threaten to steal our joy, the Spirit provides supernatural joy and hope as we look to Jesus.

Our Joy Is Made Complete When We Fix Our Eyes on Jesus and Eternal Life with Him

While we can have joy here on earth through the Spirit, our joy will only be made fully complete in eternity with Jesus. He alone is the full source of joy, peace, hope, comfort, love and life. As Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) says of God:

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

When believers finally stand face-to-face with Christ, He will wipe away every tear and sorrow will vanish. The joy we get a foretaste of now through the Spirit will blossom into endless joy in Jesus’ presence. As Jude 1:24-25 (NKJV) declares:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”

Knowing our eternal destiny gives us strength to endure any difficulty we face on earth. Our trials are temporary, but the joy we’ll experience with Christ in heaven is eternal. This fills us with inexpressible joy and hope despite our current pain or grief.

No matter what circumstances we face here, we can fix our eyes on the joy set before us in eternity. We can rejoice because one day we will see Jesus face-to-face and experience the fullness of joy forever with Him. This unshakable hope is the anchor for our soul that keeps our joy steadfast.


Life brings inevitable pains, disappointments and heartaches that threaten our joy. But as Christians, we have solid hope from scripture that we can maintain our joy in Christ despite trials or suffering. Confessing our sins, finding all satisfaction in Christ, nurturing gratitude, practicing praise and serving others helps us hold tightly to our joy. Through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus produces His joy in us as we surrender and abide in Him. And we can look ahead to the day when we’ll know complete, endless joy with our Savior. May this biblical perspective guard and strengthen our joy, even through the darkest seasons of life.

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