Many Christians feel as if they need to "clean themselves up" before they can come to God in prayer. But our righteousness is in Christ alone, and no amount of good works will make us right with God. If we are in Christ, God sees us as righteous right now!
A few years ago, I stepped out in faith and prayed, "God, I'm asking You to let me help every single person on the face of the earth." My mind said, Now that is stupid. But I kept praying that prayer anyway, and our television ministry has expanded greatly since that time.
The Bible says we do not have because we do not ask (see James 4:2). I would rather ask for a lot and get part of it than ask for a little and get all of it!
Be bold and confident in God when you pray; don't be double-minded when you ask for His blessings. Don't think, I wonder if I have been righteous enough for God to grant my request. Just ask for what you need, boldly and in faith, without wavering, hesitating or doubting, knowing that your righteousness is in Christ.
4. Be quick to forgive. Joy is restored to your life when you learn how to forgive and forget, and these two virtues go together. God tells us He forgives our sins, puts them as far as the east is from the west, and He remembers them no more (see Ps. 103:12; Is. 43:25).
Frequently, we try to forgive people, but forgiveness can't do its redemptive work because we want to remember what they did to us. We continue to think and talk about them. Remembering a past offense reopens the wound and feeds anger—then anger in turn feeds unforgiveness.
Why do we need to forgive other people? Because our faith won't work if we don't. Unforgiveness is like dirt and mud on our spirit. It blocks our fellowship with God, and that prevents our spiritual growth.
Actually, we end up torturing ourselves when we hold grudges and don't forgive others. While we are miserable and upset, the person who hurt us is out enjoying his or her life, not even thinking about it. I often say that holding unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die!
Have you lost your joy because of unforgiveness? If so, I suggest that you start forgiving people right away. Make a list of people you need to forgive. Ask the Lord to give you the power to forgive these people, then let it go.
5. Obey God. I can tell you from experience that walking in obedience to God is one of the best ways to have a joyful, outrageously blessed life. Psalm 37:4 says: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (NIV).
Every day we need to submit our will and our plans to God. We need to learn to wait on Him and listen to what He is telling us to do—then simply obey Him. God knows what is best for our lives, and He will lead us into His perfect plan if we give Him permission to do so.
When we are new believers, we have our own plans and walk in our own ways. However, as we surrender to God to really follow Him, there will be things He will ask us to do that we may not want to do—at first. But if we really love Him, we will let Him have His way in our lives (see John 14:15).
Are you in a position right now in which God is asking you to do something you don't want to do? I strongly urge you to submit to Him. Your joy depends on it!
I believe that as we obey God more, it will bring such outrageous blessings that our love for Him will grow deeper and deeper. As our love grows, we will want to do what God wants us to do, and our obedience will give us great joy.
6. Be yourself. Being satisfied and happy with yourself is a very important key to enjoying your life. It was so liberating to me when I discovered that I did not have to be like anyone else.
I used to try to be easygoing like my husband, Dave. I even tried to be soft-spoken and sweet like my pastor's wife. But all of that was only making me frustrated because God didn't anoint me to be them—He anointed me to be me!
Many people think they must become what another person is. That kind of thinking will steal our joy. We don't have to compare anything about our lives to another person's life. All we're required to do is be who God created us to be.
God has made every one of us unique. He personally made you and gave you gifts, talents and abilities. Just think about it: Nobody else in the world is exactly like you. That means what is best for someone else may not be best for you.