When you think about it, the Bible never really tells you how to be happy. It just encourages you to be joyful.
And in our heads, we know we should be joyful. We just aren’t sure how to get there.
To help you out, we’ve created a list of practical ideas we like to call our 10 Commandments for all Joyful People.
1. Understand the difference between joy and happiness.
Happiness starts on the outside and affects how we feel inside. But joy starts on the inside and bursts its way out. That’s why Paul said to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4, NIV) even though he was a Roman prisoner at the time.
2. Refuse to focus on your circumstances.
Since joy is rooted in our hearts, our circumstances can’t make it happen. Joy has to live bigger than that. We can choose joy because it’s a product of who we are, not where we are.
3. Practice contentment.
Contentment and joy go hand in hand because they’re both based on gratitude. Joyful people aren’t jealous (“I want what you have!”) or envious (“I can’t have it, so you shouldn’t either!”). And while they may not have the best of everything, content folks make the best of everything. That’s fertile ground for joy.
4. See God as your ultimate Provider.
Joyful people understand the truth of Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and fulness thereof.” They know God owns it all and that they are stewards of His good gifts. Trusting Him to meet their needs eases the stress that can steal joy.
5. Do life together with solid people.
A poet once said, “No man is an island.” And he was right. Joyful people build healthy relationships with “eagles” who challenge them to fly high.
6. See yourself as God sees you.
Comparisons crush joy! That’s why joyful people see themselves through God’s eyes. They serve an audience of One. If they get that right, they know everything else will fall into place.
7. Give generously.
Joyful people are givers. But they don’t just give their money. In fact, for many joyful people, investing their time and talents is more fulfilling than sharing their treasure.
8. Pursue your God-given purpose with passion.
God has a plan for everyone. And the payoff for plugging into His plan and doing it “as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23) is incredible joy.
Forgiveness leads to pure joy because we are never more like Jesus than when we forgive others—and ourselves (Ephesians 4:32).
10. Reject fear.
God doesn’t deal in fear (2 Timothy 1:7). In fact, His love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). So joyful people don’t wallow in fear either. They walk courageously in God’s power and presence.
The Bible says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). If you’re feeling a little dry these days, shower yourself in the joy that only God can provide.
It’s good for what ails you.