5 Common Joy Stealers


The day starts off well enough.

But before you know it, you’re grumpy and ticked off.

You reach for joy, but you can’t find it.

You know that you’re supposed to be joyful as a Christian, but the only thing you feel is annoyance and irritation.

If you’ve been there before, consider these 5 common joy stealers that Christians should watch out for:

#1 Repeated Failure

It’s no secret that most of us struggle with sin. We hate our sin nature, but figure it’s part of the deal. We’re grateful for grace…that is if we can ever muster enough energy to hold on to grace. The truth is that like the writer of Hebrews 12:1 says, we are often encumbered with the weight of besetting sins and can barely move. If you’ve told yourself a million times that “I’ll never do it again” yet find yourself in the pit of failure, take heart. Jesus has gone before you. Grace is yours right now. Today is a new day and it’s time to reclaim your joy.

#2 Lack of Power

You pray and nothing happens. You wait and nothing changes. There’s nothing more defeating for a Christian than a life without power. Why is it that some people seem to display more power than others? Perhaps the answer is in recognizing it. Perhaps the answer is in seeing it. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” God’s power is at work not for the perfect Christian but for the one who seeks God with all of his heart. God’s power is at work in you even when you don’t feel it or see it and even when you’re struggling to believe it. Rejoice in the truth today!

#3 Broken Dreams

You hoped things would turn out one way but they didn’t. Your dreams feel shattered. Your joy is shaken. When you’re at the crossroad of broken dreams and a future of joy, you have a decision to make: will you trust God, the giver of dreams, or will you linger in self-pity and misery trying to convince God to revive your dead dreams? Surrender is your pathway to joy. The sooner you embrace a heart that is surrendered the sooner you’ll find the joy that you’ve lost.

#4 Lack of Purpose

A sense of purposelessness can undo you even a spirit filled heaven bound follower of Jesus. What are you supposed to do until you get to heaven? Whether you seem to be leading a life of purpose and productivity or not, remember that your chief purpose here on this earth is to glorify God no matter what you do. So, whether you eat, or drink make sure you refocus on your true purpose: to do it all for the glory of God. That’s where purpose begins and that’s where joy grows.

#5 Competing Loves

You may love God and love him a lot, but you still love _______ just a little bit more. You’re convinced that you won’t be happy without it. You pray for it. You look for it. You can’t stand the idea that you might not get it. It’s called an idol and it’s time to let it go. Nothing will rip your joy away faster than the presence of an idol in your life. Is there an idol in your life that’s ripping away your joy? It might be time to destroy it.

Hey – joy is your right as a follower of Jesus Christ.

You were created for joy, and your joy actually glorifies God.

So stop feeling guilty for being happy. And if your joy’s been stolen, perhaps it’s time to get it back.

Which of these joy stealers do you identify with? Are there other joy stealers I forgot to mention? Leave a comment.


  1. #5 seems to come up often…but thank God for His grace and mercy with us. He forgives and restores our joy.

  2. I guess we struggle with all of the above at one time or another. Keeping short accounts is the answer, living in awareness of sin when it happens. Repentance and restoration are close at hand. Grace and mercy ready to lift us up. Amazing merciful God.

  3. “You know that you’re supposed to be joyful as a Christian”

    I’m must be a bit of a curmudgeon but I hope I’m not -supposed- to be joyful. Chasing joy around seems to get a lot of people in trouble. Christians and non-christians alike.

  4. my joy stealer is comparing my life to others, “I want what she’s got” and that sort of nonsense. Thanks, Lina!

  5. Cindy Cordes says:

    This was just for me this morning……thankful!

  6. Joy Stealer for me would be complainers.Good post!:)

  7. #3 and 4 hit home for me.

  8. I think my joy stealer comes until #2 and #3… but I’m not sure. What steals my joy is knowing how many people in this world are suffering (and they usually tend to be related to children, since that’s where my heart is truly drawn). I have been having a hard time lately allowing myself to feel joy, because I feel guilty. I know about the parents whose child is in the end stages of Batten Disease, or the family whose only child (once healthy) is now severly disabled because of an accident…. and the list just goes on. I feel like I don’t deserve to feel joy when I know that they’re not. I could really use some advise in this regard, Lina, because I’ve found that it’s getting harder and harder for me to overcome. ;(

    • Oh, and the reason I include “lack of power” is because I can’t help them, and even though I pray, I don’t hear an answer.

  9. Christina Dekker says:

    This week haunts the calendar as a reminder of #3… So thankful for the timeliness of this post.

  10. I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. I just manage to sometimes muffle it with the idol du jour. Gotta knock it off!

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Lina AbuJamra

Doctor. Author. Bible Teacher. Living with Power.

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