How Can I Find More Joy and Peace in My Life?

I recently picked up Christopher Wright’s new book Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Growing in Christlikeness. If you’re anything like me, always needing a little extra help to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life, I recommend getting your hands on this book.

At one point Wright says that “joy” and “peace” are like twins in Scripture because they frequently show up together and are related to each other. Here’s an example: “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him…” (Romans 15:13).

Maybe joy and peace are twins in Scripture, but are they twins in our lives? If you’re asking me, it depends on when you ask. What does my bank account look like? Are there any relational conflicts in my life? What’s the state of my health and the health of those I love? Am I getting the things I want in my marriage and my job? Maybe joy and peace will be present together, but probably just one, or neither.

Wright points out that joy and peace show up when we’re trusting and depending on the God who has given us peace and gives us joy, rather than on ourselves and our ever-changing circumstances.

Christians will be noticed (and often asked questions) if they have the kind of joy that is not affected by the moods of cynical despair and negativity that can easily dominate groups of people thrown together by their work. But equally, their joy doesn’t come from getting swept up in the occasional crazy bouts of drinking and gluttony. Rather, they have a quality of inner joy that can be sensed even in times of pain, or loss, or suffering; an underlying joy that is not dependent on alcohol, sex, or money.

Similarly, Christians with peace, who are not racked by anxiety or driven by ruthless ambition, who are not devastated by failing to get promoted, or in despair because of the threat or reality of losing their job, but who rather have an inner peace that flows from trusting God—such people are bearing silent witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are being like Christ in trusting their heavenly Father in the midst of whatever life brings—even the tough things.
— Wright, page 59


I needed to be reminded of that this week. What we bank our lives on will determine how much peace and joy we experience. Trusting in other people, things (even good things!), and ourselves will drown us in anxiety (the opposite of peace) and sorrow (the opposite of joy) because they’ll always disappoint.

As we daily choose to trust and depend on God and his promises to us—things that never disappoint—these twins will become more and more present in our day-to-day lives. And let’s be honest: who doesn’t want to experience more of the inner joy and inner peace Christ gives us? I know I do.