Is My Joy Shallow?

“Is my joy shaky…shallow…stunted by life’s circumstances?”  These are hard questions I asked myself as I read the book How to Have Real Joy by Charles Spurgeon.

My quest to understand this thing called joy is a lifelong journey. I don’t want to just say the word; I want to understand what it really means. Oftentimes, the word joy and happiness get intertwined together as one. But they are as different as east is from the west. Happiness is fleeting. It ebbs and flows like our emotions. It’s based on how I feel. I may be happy that I purchased a blouse on sale and had a coupon and scored extra savings. Or, I may be sad when I learn my favorite team lost the super bowl.

Joy, a fruit of the spirit, comes from Jesus, therefore it never leaves. But it can be hindered. Joy isn’t based on being good enough to get it. It’s based on being a child of God and given through the gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8). If I have joy in my heart given to me by Jesus, can it be possible for my joy to be shallow? What does it look like in the believer’s heart?

In How to Have Real Joy, Spurgeon writes,

“This joy of the LORD in our spirits springs from an assurance that our entire future, regardless of what may happen, is guaranteed by divine goodness. We are joyful when we know that, as children of God, the love of God toward us never changes. The believer feels complete satisfaction in leaving himself in the hands of eternal and unchangeable love. However happy I may be today, if I am in doubt about tomorrow, there is a worm in the root of my peace. Although the past may now be pleasant in retrospect, and the present satisfying and enjoyable, if the future looks gloomy and frightening, my joy is shallow.”

(Source: How to Have Real Joy, Charles Spurgeon, pg.72-73, Whitaker House)

Spurgeon’s explanation about shallow joy makes sense. When we turn away from Jesus and let doubt come in and takeover out thoughts about our future, our joy is not growing. It is not staying deeply rooted in Jesus. It is deeply rooted in our circumstances. If I believe that God is over all things (Ephesians 1:22), is working for my good (Romans 8:28) and has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), I need not worry (Matthew 6:34), my joy is thriving. My joy becomes shallow when I turn my heart and mind away from believing God’s Word and all his promises. My joy becomes shallow and stunted when something happens and I think God is against me. When I think that nothing good will come out of a bad situation. Shallow joy is rooted in unbelief, which is a sin. Sin is what hinders my joy.

Your joy will be tested by life’s circumstances. Grow the joy God gives you by spending time with Him and reading of His Word (John 15:10-11).  The next time you begin to doubt God, ask yourself, “is my joy shallow?”

About Ashley Anderton

Ashley Anderton is a speaker, singer and artist. She loves encouraging women in their relationships, both with God and with their husbands, children, and friends. Her passion is for today’s woman to know and love a real Savior. Her first priorities are her husband, Brian, and her son, Sam. Ashley grew up in the church where she learned to praise God through music and developed a love for the power of God’s word. When she’s not teaching bible studies or speaking to women’s groups, Ashley enjoys: listening to her husband talk about deer hunting watching her son progress to the next belt in karate chatting with a girlfriends (preferably over a cup of coffee) finding a new craft project on pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *