The servant leaders who make the greatest impact on lives are those who have a genuinely joyful spirit. Joy is both compelling and contagious. Furthermore, the joy of the Lord is strengthening to us. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

So how to keep joy as you serve?

  1. Focus on the Cross. There is no discouragement so deep that a look to the Cross can’t renew our perspective. When your joy is slipping, consider Christ, thank Him for His love, and remember you are serving Him. Only a close and growing walk with the Lord can sustain joy through the varied seasons of ministry.
  2. Confess known sin. Guilt is a joy-sapper. In years of counseling and pastoring, I have often seen a corollary in Christians who are emotionally defeated between guilt and the loss of joy. Particularly, there seems to be a common connection in men between being full of anger and having ongoing, hidden moral sin. Daily ask the Lord to search your heart, and always respond to His conviction. Keep short accounts with God, and do whatever is necessary to keep your heart right with others.
  3. Thank someone. There is something encouraging about being an encouragement! Jot a quick thank you note to someone who has invested in your life. Send thank you flowers to your spouse. Tell one of your children how thankful you are for them and thank them for a positive quality you see in their life.
  4. Take regular breaks from your routine. Sometimes we forget that our emotions are as attached to our bodies as they are to our spirits. If you’re not taking time to rest and eat properly, it will eventually catch up to you. Look for ways to break up your routine a bit. If you’re at a desk all day, just standing up for ninety seconds to stretch can be helpful. Take a brief moment to mentally turn from the project in front of you and purposefully focus on the Lord.
  5. Clear away distractions for a period of time. God made us people, not machines. Consequently, we need rest. On your day off, enjoy the day. Spend time with your family. Engage in a hobby. Take a walk. Sleep in. And sometimes, do something fun, just for the sake of having fun. Do whatever you need to do to stay joyful in your spirit.

What else have you found helps to renew or sustain your joy?  Share in the comments below.

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