Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

The faith-joy connection

An “a-hah!” moment

A while back I had an “a-hah!” moment — noticing that many Scriptures show a cause-effect relationship between faith and joy.

Here’s some examples —

Psa 13:5 — “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”  Have trusted — shall rejoice.  That’s cause-effect.

Psa 21:6-7 — “… you make him glad with the joy of your presence.  For [or “because”] the king trusts in the LORD.”  The reason for the king’s joy is because he trusts in the Lord.  Cause-effect.

Psa 33:21 — “For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.”  We have glad hearts because we trust in his holy name.  Cause-effect.

Rom 15:13 — “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.”  Through believing God fills our hearts with joy.  Cause-effect.

1Pet 1:8 — “… though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible …”  (NAS translation.)  What causes inexpressible joy in Christ is believing in Him.  Cause – effect.

(If you have found other examples — let me know.)

What difference this makes

Faith is the cause.  Joy is the result.  This discovery transformed my Christian life — as recently as Sunday.

An hour before worship on Sunday I was gripped by fear that we were going to have a low turnout.  No particular reason.  Just one of those irrational, strange fears that grips me from time to time.

I don’t like feeling fear.  And I know God commands that I not fear (Isa 41:10).  But what can I do?

Here’s where understanding the faith — joy connection helps.

Since faith in Christ results in joy in Christ, the fact that I lacked joy in Christ showed there was a problem in my faith.

And as I searched my heart — I saw the problem.

To my shame, at that moment what felt most joyful to me was not knowing Christ — it was having a full church.  Which shows that at that moment I was trusting — not Christ — but church attendance to satisfy me.

The fight of faith

I can’t turn fear and joy on and off by will-power.  But by God’s grace I can turn from trusting attendance as my joy, to trusting Christ as my joy.

So that’s what I did.

I was alone in a back room of the school our church meets in.  And I prayed.  I turned to Christ and confessed my sinful trust in attendance.

I asked Him to forgive me for thinking attendance would satisfy me more than He would.  I asked him to “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa 51:10).

I asked Him to help me see and love His power, mercy, sovereignty, and goodness.  I asked Him to help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).

And I set my heart prayerfully on the truth of who He is — praising Him, thanking Him, worshiping Him, beholding Him.

And slowly — the fear diminished.  Slowly — I felt the Holy Spirit changing my heart so I felt love for Christ, joy in Christ, hope in Christ.

By the time worship started the fear was gone.  I saw — and felt — that having Jesus was everything.

(And by God’s grace we had a powerful — and larger-than-usual gathering.)

Some take-aways

Here’s some implications of the cause-effect relationship between faith in Christ and joy in Christ —

  • I must not live on the basis of emotions.  But I also must not ignore emotions — because emotions show what I am trusting.  Whatever I desire the most, or worry about losing the most, is what I am trusting the most.
  • I never need to settle for lack of joy in Christ.  If I will prayerfully fight the fight of faith, the Holy Spirit will restore the joy of salvation.
  • I must never settle for lack of joy in Christ — because lack of joy shows there’s a problem with my faith.  It either shows I am not trusting Jesus to satisfy me, or I am trusting something else to satisfy me.

Do you agree?

Or do you disagree?  Or would you state it differently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts — feel free to leave a reply.  Thanks.

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Category: Finding Peace and Joy, Miscellaneous


10 Responses

  1. Katherine F. says:

    It also goes to show how baselessly Satan attacks us and tries to make us think about all the what ifs, when God actually has good plans for us. Satan invites us to consider all the possible bad things that could happen, while God is planning good things for us. Crazy, eh? So true that when we give the future up to God, we can rejoice in Him and leave all the details up to Him to sort out. There are so many things out of our control (most things), that we like to think worrying might help with. Thanks for this reminder. If we just do the jobs God has laid out for us and trust Him for the results, we can do so with joy. My favorite verse this week is: 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make ALL GRACE ABOUND to you, so that in ALL things, at ALL times, having ALL that you need, you will ABOUND in EVERY good work.” What kind of insanely amazing promise is that???? Wow. Knocks my socks off.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      That IS an insanely amazing promise — thanks for sharing it, Katherine.

      And what a joy it was to see David on Sunday — we have such warm memories of when all of you were here.

      May the Father richly bless you today,


  2. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    “Faith is the cause. Joy is the result.”

    I’d never have thought that there could be any connection between trusting God and feeling His joy. It’s surprising, astonishing, and very good news. The Scriptures you cited should be written on my heart. Psa 33:21 is so short and plain but coincidentally very heart-warming.
    Rom 15:13 on the other hand is so powerful and encouraging as well. That does me so good,
    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

    Thanks a lot, Steve. Blessings!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Susanne.

      And I love that you found the Scriptures heart-warming and encouraging — and the connection between faith and joy surprising, astonishing, and good news.


  3. Cork Burroughs says:

    Steve Pithy Blog! Gonna use in
     my sermon Sunday 06-03-12 “If You Want Joy” sub title ;’ the believer’s overcoming X-factor in this journey of life!'(Hebs.12:2/Jn.15:12) I won’t plagiarize you ; I ‘ll give you the ‘props’ and if the offering’s overabundant,well…. LOL! But truly thx Bro for being so vulnerable , and posting this insight. How truly a connecting and’ a-ha’ Truth- Jesus does continuously Set Us Free! And without smoke and mirrors, gives us Joy UnSpeakable – Infused with His Glory! His Love and Blessings to you, yours, and the Mercy Hill Church. Cork

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Cork,

      So glad to meet you, Thanks for stopping by the blog and for sharing your encouraging words.

      May the Father powerfully work through your sermon this Sunday. I am SO glad that you found “The Faith-Joy Connection” helpful.

      Onward, brother!


  4. Cork Burroughs says:

    Steve thx for the reply and prayer.I am and am not- both!- amazing at the tests and battles one faces when bringing God’s Word to His People! I would think that as titled “the Joy of the Lord” this week would be a week of applicable, teachable Rejoicing moments / kinda a easy street of Joy… However I find myself in more of the Psalm 119:65-72,even a touch into 73-80 teachable moments! The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength! Praise unto King Jesus!Deepen us Lord into the”fellowship of Your sufferings, thus being made conformable…. Ain’t God Good, and on top of that , I believe He knows what He’s doing !! Novel thought!(LOL). Luv to you and yours Steve. Cork

    • Steve Fuller says:

      You are so welcome, Cork. Tests and battles — that’s been my experience these last few days as well.

      May the Father sustain you, brother. And keep Acts 14:22 in mind — the road to heaven passes through many tribulations.

      He is worth it all.


  5. Cork Burroughs says:

    Hello my Brother ! How are you doing today? Be Blessed and Enriched in our Jesus, may the Joy if the Lord greatly strengthen you in the battle Steve! Love and prayer from the Windy City. Cork

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Yesterday I was battling discouragement in a couple areas — praying and fighting by means of the sword of the Spirit.

      God answered my prayers, and gave me much strength and encouragement. It’s been a Jesus-filled day.

      I’m praying for your sermon Sunday in the Windy City. May the Father powerfully speak through you.


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