Describe the most joy-filled person you know. What do you feel makes them so? Would you describe yourself as someone who lives joyfully? Why or why not? If not, what do you feel is preventing you from living a joy-filled life?
What is the difference between happiness and joy?
On Sunday, numerous barriers to experiencing joy were discussed. Read James 4:1-2. How is selfishness an impediment to entering into true joy?
Read Hebrews 12:15. How can bitterness and resentment keep us from experiencing joy?
Read Proverbs 12:25. How will being filled with worry prevent a person from living a life filled with joy?
The Bible makes very clear that there is a way to experience joy, though the way there goes against much of what our culture tells us. Acts 20:35 (GN) reads: “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” Talk about how living selflessly is a key step to experiencing joy.
The Apostle Paul tells the Colossian believers (3:13 LB): “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Discuss how being willing to forgive frees a person to experience joy.
Psalm 62:8 (LB) says: "Trust in God at all times; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." How can trusting God to act and focusing on His power instead of your problems move you to living a joy-filled life?
The interesting thing about joy is that it is not dependent upon our circumstances. We can be joyful even in the face of tough times. Why is that so?
Three reasons we can live with joy in even when life gets tough: God is with us in our tough times; God has a plan for us in the face of the challenges we face; and God promises to help us through our difficulties. Which of these speaks most powerfully to you today about living with joy in troubling times? Why?
What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?