Working definition of this leadership concept:
To be joyful is to rejoice in hope. Joy does not depend on circumstances, but on the hope we have in Christ.
I have a friend who is fond of saying that joy is the fuel of the Kingdom of God. She continues to explain that it is the joy of deeply knowing that nothing separates us from our good God that energizes us to run.
I like the picture of running the race set before us, like in Hebrews 12, and I agree:
Benefits for leaders who are joyful:
1. Joyful leaders are able to enjoy other people and see and celebrate their accomplishments.
2. Leaders who can return to joy when facing disappointment and difficulty are more resilient.
3. Leaders who experience joy are refreshed and energized.
Benefits for the community where leaders are joyful:
Biblical inspiration and support:
“12 Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, NIV)
It’s one of the great mysteries that joy and suffering are not mutually exclusive. They can occur simultaneously. Over the last year I have been touched by how, even in the midst of grief, I can appreciate natural beauty, enjoy the words of a song, and even laugh. God has made us with amazing emotional capacity. I actually think that one of the things that enables us to be patient in suffering is that we are joyful in hope… hope that life is more than suffering. Joyful in the confidence that God is with us always, whatever we are facing (2 Corinthians 4:9). Rejoicing in the sure knowledge that there is a purpose to this life. We hope in the glory of Jesus Christ, the risen Savior who sits at the right hand of God. We hope that as He has been resurrected, so too we will have resurrected bodies (Romans 6:5). We can rejoice that through Christ our names are written in the heaven (Luke 10:20) and we have eternal life which means we have the ability to know God (John 17:3).
Joy is not flippant, silly or foolish. It is not reserved for little children. In Nehemiah 8 the people of God begin grieving while they hear the Word of the Lord for the first time. The leaders respond by urging them to celebrate and teaching them, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10, ESV) In the face of disappointment and broken-heartedness they are told that joy is their strength.
Leaders need this joy which flows from a sure confidence of God’s love and an experience of His loving presence. We read about joy in God’s presence in Psalm 16:
“ 11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, ESV)
And so, if you do not have joy, do not worry. God is the source of joy. It is actually listed in Galatians as a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, ESV, emphasis mine)
How do you produce this fruit? Well, you can’t produce it on your own: it is the product of the Holy Spirit at work within you. I think the key is found just a verse later:
“25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25, ESV)
I have a joy-filled friend who adds, “It’s a dance with the Spirit!”
We will exhibit fruit of the Spirit if we live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit…If we do not rely on our own limited resources but lean into God’s endless resources. If we follow Jesus’ example and do what we see the Father doing, keeping in step with His work in our area of influence. Partnering with God in His will being done releases great joy!
And so, we are joyful in our secure hope, which helps us be patient in our present sufferings, and we are faithful in prayer – aligning our will with God’s will in our lives and areas of leadership (See Romans 12:12).
A friend offered this example: “My sister-in-law lost her husband almost two years ago. She grieved deeply for a long time, but this summer found line dancing with friends from her summer home. She started to move and follow steps and the grief began to lift. She kept dancing and her smile returned. She learned to laugh and let go. It was joy from new friends, lots of fun dancing and of course, her Savior who provided it all!”
One of my friend talks about "joybursts” – little (or big) surprises that bring joy in the midst of your day. Take some time this week to pause and savor the “joybursts”… the phone call from a friend, hugs from family, the laughter of children, ice cream, the beauty of the sky, solving a problem, a happy memory…
Have some fun.
What fills your tank? As a leader, fun is not optional; you need the refreshment that fun and joy bring! Take out your calendar and schedule no less than an hour this week to do something fun that brings you joy. If you don’t know what brings you joy – start experimenting! Maybe you should try line dancing, learning an instrument, quilting, refinishing furniture… What refreshes you? What puts a smile on your face? Give it some time. Those on your team will be grateful that you did!
Joy in the Lord’s presence.
The Lord is the source of joy for a Christian. Spend some time reading and meditating on Psalm 16. Ask the Lord to reveal the fullness of joy to be found in His presence.
Shout for Joy!
The Bible directs God’s people to shout for joy many times. Consider obeying!
(See Psalm 32:11, 33:1, 35:27, 47:1, 66:1, 81:1, 132:9; Isaiah 12:6, 42:11)
A parting word on joy:
Having fun is not optional for a leader!
Comment: What is bringing you joy lately?
Hi! I'm Jeri Howe.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies