How to Fight for Joy
James 1:2 tells us to consider our trials– as a joy. Why? Because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and perseverance leads to maturity.
To persevere is to be steadfast or to be firmly fixed in our faith.
Are you in a trial?
Then it’s time to make war!
You must fight for joy or you will get beaten down.
Today’s video tells of a time when I went through a difficult trial where I had to fight for joy. It was during this trial that this blog here at Women Living Well was born!
I recorded this video back in 2010, during a previous James Book Club – so please pardon the poor video quality – but the message is from James and it is relevant for today. So join me as I talk about: How to Fight For Joy
In today’s video I mentioned the book by John Piper titled: When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. This book is a deep theological read. It has touched my soul and has challenged me in times of despair and spiritual warfare.
If you are in a season of fighting for joy – slow down and read my favorite quotes from this book (they are not an easy, quick read), they will inspire you to continue fighting the good fight of faith and to persevere through the difficult trials you are facing as you mature in Christ.
The fight for joy in Christ is not a fight to soften the cushion of Western comforts. It is a fight for strength to live a life of self-sacrificing love. It is a fight to join Jesus on the Calvary road and stay there with him, no matter what. (pg. 20)
Maintaining joy in God takes “work”; that is; it’s a fight against every impulse for alien joys and every obstacle in the way to seeing and savoring Christ…when we understand that seeing Christ is what leads to enjoying Christ, and that therefore the fight for joy is mainly a fight to see…The fighting does not cause the joy. Seeing causes the joy. (pg. 44)
God ordained that spiritual seeing should happen mainly through hearing…Therefore we must hear what he says in order to see what he reveals. The Bible does not speak of hearing the glory of God, but seeing it. Hearing it is the means. Seeing is the goal. The aim of all our hearing of God’s truth is the seeing of God’s glory. (pg. 65)
When you memorize the Word of God, it’s there directly giving joy to you and it’s there indirectly serving your joy by transforming your mind. How shall we obey the command, “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2) if we neglect to saturate our minds with the thoughts of God? Ask yourself: Of all the spiritually minded people you have known – those who seem to walk most consistently with God and are in tune with God’s Spirit – do they not all overflow with Scripture? Prick them, and they bleed Bible. This is no coincidence. Memorizing Scripture is one of the surest routes to going deep with God and walking in communion with him. Which means walking in joy. (pg. 120)
It may be that part of the cause of spiritual darkness is cherished sin that we are unwilling to let go…sin destroys joy. It offers deceptive delights, but it kills in the end…Peter relates this to marriage and said that if a husband sins against his wife, his prayer will be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7). If we want the joy of seeing and savoring God in Christ, we must not make peace with our sins. We must make war. (pg. 223)
Are you struggling to feel joy in your life?
Determine today to make war.
Sin may have crept in or perhaps your focus has been taken off of the Lord. Maybe you are worried about something that you need to take to God in prayer or perhaps you are not feeling well and you are exhausted. Our bodies are connected to our spirits – when our body is worn down, our spirits are worn down.
- Get rest.
- Read God’s Word daily.
- Pray fervently.
- Repent if there is sin in your life.
- Trust and obey the Lord.
And FIGHT for joy.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Keep walking with the King,
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We have just come out of a trial. My husband has worked the night shift until 5 am Mon-Fri for 11 years. I homeschool our only child and have been a stay at home mom those 11 years. It was such a stretching of my faith and patience. My husband last month applied for a promotion and got the job. He now works during the day. I am so happy I am beside myself with joy. knowing we get to see him in the morning and night is like Christmas everyday.
Some trials are quicker than others. How sweet it is when it’s over.
Amber, that’s awesome! Your comment really touched my heart…I’m a fellow homeschooler myself, so I know how difficult it must have been for you to homeschool and also have your husband working unfavorable hours. I’m glad that y’all have a much better schedule now…God is amazing! I’m sure you learned a lot through your trial and now you’re receiving the blessings!!
Thanks for sharing!
Courtney, thank you for posting your 2010 video. It was what I needed to hear today. God knew exactly what I needed to hear and used your 2010 video blog.
This is exactly what I needed to see, read and hear this morning. We’ve been facing trials for several months now and things are blowing up even more. I’ve been praying for relief, but maybe God is letting me sit in this to become stronger. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the encouragement.
Thank you for sharing this, Courtney. And for quoting Piper ☺
We have been going through a deep financial trial for the past six years ad there is light at the end of this particular trial. We’ve had others thrown in in the middle of this major one, but even though I’ve prayed to have it removed, God has seen fit to keep us in it and through it our faith, our prayer life and our lifestyle has changed, deepened and our dependence on God has really grown. Yes I still get tired, want it over, want a break from it all. But God has been my mainstay through it all as hard as it has been and still is. Interesting thing is, is the comments I get from those I work with. They never fail to comment to me, that they don’t know how I’m getting through this and staying so joyful and positive. I can only reply that it is my faith that has carried me through. The ways God has opened up paths for work, money to go further and amazingly kind hearts is beyond incredible and testament to our amazing God. Thank you for your bible studies. I’ve been doing them for the past five years, the first two on my own and the past three in a group. I’ve learnt so much and it is so wonderful to connect with the sisterhood of Christ around the world. I love it and it is a true blessing to me. Thank you Courtney.
Thank you for this study and the quotes. I beg your prayers, Friends. I am about as joyless as I have ever been. I’m older than most of your target audience but my children are the age of many here. My son has lost his job and my daughter struggles with many issues. I know I borrow trouble but I’m worried she will lose her job because of her attitude. Why do I let these worries control me? I feel close to a breakdown. Please, please help with your prayers and words. I can’t sleep, my stomach is always in knots. Please guide me. I realize the answers to my prayers will be here but I admit my impatience.
Dear Lord, Nancy is in need of Your personal touch. Father, I pray in the beautiful name of Jesus, that You will come so near to her and fill her with faith to believe that You are the God that moves mountains, and You can handle whatever is going on with her daughter and her attitudes. Lord You healed a hard case like me, I know everything is possible with You. Lord take away the helplessness and hopelessness from Nancy, fill her with joy bubbling up to the full. Lord help her to think on things that are… PHillipians 4:4-9 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Thank You Lord. Amen
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Ingrid, thank you for these beautiful heartfelt words in prayer for my family and me. I will read and pray this prayer also. God bless you. Again, thank you so very much.
I’ve been trying to find the transcripts for the video blogs, even back in Ecclesiastes, for a hearing impaired friend that’s doing these studies with me and I can’t find them. Where are the transcripts being posted for our hearing impaired friends?
I do not have transcripts available at this time but when you press play on the video you will see on the right hand corner the letters “CC” – click on these letters – closed captioning will pop up on the video and you can read the words as I speak them.
Hope this helps! 🙂
As a single mom with 3 kids (9, 8 & 7) everyday is a trial. There father is pretty non-extent in their lives so it all falls on me. I’m a day behind but I yesterday I really asked God for His perfect portion of wisdom. I asked without doubting & fully trusting Him to give exactly what I needed. I had a day of not yelling at the kids & was pretty stress free for the first time in a very long time. My 8 year old spilled her milk at dinner. I grabbed napkins & mopped it up. My 9 year old tells me “wow mom you didn’t get mad”. Hmmmm the power of prayer to a powerful God made that moment happen.
Loved this, especially the quote about people who have maintained their joy “bleed the bible if pricked.” I just heard this morning that rest is a form of spiritual warfare and it was confirmed by seeing it on the list above. Thank you for re-posting this video.
This was so encouraging!! Thank you. Your “bumping the cup” analogy really struck me.
Thank you for sharing! I’ve been feeling exhausted and saddened that I haven’t been as active as I used to be. I’m only 38! I reminded through your blog that I’m spiritually drained. Thank you for the reminder! I know what I need to do to get back on track! This is my second bible study with you and I’m so glad you are doing this!
Courtney, thank you! I am so glad you talked about your ministry being born out of struggle. That is where I am now. I know I am called to progress in my dream of being home for the kids and earning a living on line. So may technical struggles. Thank you for the war version of joy! The Joy of the Lord is my strength. As you said it is about trusting Him and plunging ahead!
This was just what I needed. Thanks so much!
This was so encouraging. I was going to skip the video when my family woke up and have been talking nonstop but something said press on and I am so happy I did I am definitely fighting for joy right now with a worn down body. I never stop and take care of me. This week and this study have shown me I have to be a priority in order to fill up with joy and share r with everyone that means so much to me. Thank you.
Everything about this post and video touched my heart in a profound way…I truly believe God was speaking to me through you! I’ve been praying about my trials…did so yesterday evening in fact…and then woke up and read this blog post and watched your video…and read the amazing John Piper quotes!…and could really feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me! This study of James came at the perfect time for me. I’ve been learning so much in my quiet time. Thank you for the great post and video! I pray that it touches many more hearts. <3
Thinking of using the cup analogy with my son. The “bleed the Bible if pricked” analogy really hit home as something I need to learn to do.
Trials and joy don’t seem to go hand in hand, with my son’s schizophrenia, I wonder where the joy is in this life as he struggles every day, guess I am just not at joy yet!!!
This is beautiful! What a powerful message in John Piper’s book! Thank you so much for sharing! I want to make war and fight for joy in my life! Seeing Christ is having joy! Amen!
I want to say that this devotion really encouraged me. We are in a trial. My husband lost his job at the end of June. We have to go back to homeschooling because the school two of our children were in closed its doors. It’s been a struggle for me emotionally. My daughter is getting married in September and my son is leaving for college this month. So much is hitting us but I also see how God is blessing. God is still an awesome God even in the midst of our trials.
I love this message. When I got married at 25, I was very immature. Everything had always gone my way. I had had a wonderful family and friends, school had been easy and fun for me, and I met the perfect husband. Looking back, I was probably a bit bratty and expected that life would continue to go my way. Then, I struggled to get pregnant. I am now 32 and continue to persevere on my journey to become a mother, which was always my dream since I was a little girl. In the midst of much sadness and disappointment, my faith has grown stronger and, believe it or not, I have greater joy now than I did before this trial. I cherish my blessings so much more after realizing how little I had to do with receiving them! I love my husband and my dog and my parents and my friends, and most importantly, God with all my heart, and much more intensely. I live more in the present, appreciating my daily bread, and do not plan as much for the future. Just recently, in the last couple of months, I have had another breakthrough. I have stopped being embarrassed about not having a baby yet. I have stopped looking down on myself and feeling ashamed and have realized that I have value for just being me because God loves me, and that’s enough. That part has been a revelation. Thank you for this wonderful message!
I can relate to your situation. I too felt pressure to have a child but I choose to put my education first to create stability in my life. I often felt guilty of choosing this route as society often judges women what they have accomplished, not who they are. I always thought that when I was ready, I would get pregnant quick. Unfortunately we tried for over 1 yr without success so we started testing on both of us to determine the cause but nothing was found. I eventually got to the point where I couldn’t take the heartache and obsessing anymore, so we just stopped trying and tried to focus on the present and enjoy everyday for what it brought The next month, I found out I was pregnant. I just had to remind myself that God has a plan for my life and timing for everything to happen according to his schedule, not mine. I still struggle with this notion as I am a planner and like to have control but I know I need to give it all to God as he has plans are to bring me good and joy.
I am sorry you are struggling to have a child. I can totally relate as we have been struggling now for over a year. I’ve been on fertility medication now for five months and still nothing. Just know that many other women are going through this exact same thing with you.
I am in the midst of the hardest trial in my life. I am trying to recovery from an affair my husband had with a coworker a few months ago while working and raising my 1 yr old son. We have been married 14 years and I am still in complete shock and disappointment from his actions. I know I can’t let others actions affect me as I can’t control them but the pain is very real as he is my high school sweet heart. We are trying to rebuild our marriage but it’s been header for me since I’m dealing with the consequences of his actions. I know I have grown in my faith through this process and keep reminding myself this test is maturing me and shaping me into a stronger follower of Christ. I am really enjoying this study and know I need these words of encouragement in this season of my life. Please keep us on your prayers that God will strengthen our marriage and lead my husband back to Christ. Thx!
Thank you for having these bible studies and for your videos/quotes, they have helped me. Lately it has been rough, going through lots of trials. I know God is there always and it helps but when it is one thing after another sometimes it is rather stressful. My gran was in the hospital with pneumonia and CHF (along with other heart problems), my mom was in the hospital at the same time with CHF, other heart problems, along with COPD, my dad has stage 4 lung cancer and is down to 118 lbs battling it. I am praying my dad turns his heart over to the Lord, for he has lead a destructive life of alcohol and cigs. I know God has a plan for all this and if it is to turn my dads heart to Him, it is all worth it. Please keep my family in your prayers. Thank you.
Amen. I am so glad that I read the post and watched the video bit is exactly what I needed. The last two years have been extremely challenging for me and my marriage. Sometimes I feel so defeated, busted and disgusted, I just don’t know what to do but cry. This post has definitely helped me and I am definitely inspired. Thanks so much. God Bless.
Thanks Courtney for sharing books you read that can help our spiritual growth! I really like that you add it to GMG and now I want to go buy his book becauase I feel it will help me during my trial. I recently lost my father to cancer and it has been hard going through grieving stages because we were so close. Please guide me in readings that can help me through this, whether it’s verses or books. Thank you and God bless you!
Good morning, I just recently started reading your blog, and following your devotions. I must say it’s wonderful. I am much older than most of you. So I have been thru most of your trials. And God is the key to all things. I struggle with dedication to devotions..I must read his word more. And this helps me so much, thank you. I enjoy this. My trials are my adult children and there paths in life they are taking. So I am praying for God to move in there lives and get them back on track. I want to be so full of Joy that I bleed it also…great analogy…and the coffee cup is so spot on..thank you again for letting God use you as a mouth piece to spread his love and word.
I know I’ve said this before, but thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into these Bible studies. I am reading and studying the Bible better than I ever have in 16 years of being a Christian. The Ecclesiastes study came to me at just the right time and now I am learning so much from James. I also enjoy having the community of other women that I can learn from and listen to their stories. I am struggling to find joy right now. I don’t feel that anything in life has ever gone my way. Every single aspect of my life is marked with disappointment. All of my plans have crumbled and I have literally failed at everything I have set my hand to. I am so discouraged and I really struggle to believe that God cares about what is going on in my life. I feel selfish to write that because I know that the world doesn’t actually revolve around me, but I feel left out and neglected in so many ways. I also really struggle with depression and anxiety, which doesn’t make it any better. I’m usually on medication to help me cope, but my husband and I have been trying for over a year to have another child (just another in my long list of failures) and so I haven’t been able to take them for about a year and a half now and it is really starting to take a toll on me. The only thing that is sort of getting me through is having these Bible studies because I want to give up every second of everyday.
Keep going! I have not had the chance to read it yet, but Lisa Terkeurst is a wonderful author and inspiring woman of God who is releasing a new book called Uninvited. This woman is real- I hope her words encourage you like they have me. Know that you are not alone in your struggles!
Thank you. I will check this out. 🙂
Thank you for providing these studies. Here I am in the middle of a stay at home order due to the Cov19, here in California almost 4 years after you posted this study, and God willing my GMG group will be starting the study on Monday. My group just finished your Spring Study in Hosea, and some of the Girls were wanting to start up another study before the Summer Study Begins, so I looked and found this one. Thank you so much.