Isaiah 61.10: I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;my soul shall exult in my God,for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,...So the next time you're asked how you're doing in the Christian life, you can say, "How am I doing? I know that in me lives nothing good at all. But I was crucified with Christ. The life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God." That's Paul in Galatians 2. No self-confidence at all does he have. A righteousness we will never have in our hearts covers, clothes, surrounds, envelopes us. And we simply trust Christ.
So, we do not look to our hearts, our feelings or our performance to know how we stand before the Lord. Your heart will lie to you. We don't even look to ourselves to see how much we trust in Christ! You ever done that? You say, "Oh ok, so it's all about trusting Christ - am I trusting him enough?" What's the problem with that? You've just turned faith into the one thing you've got to do! So you're asking, "Am I doing faith enough?" Totally irrelevant! Faith is not a thing you do which pleases God on the basis of which He saves you! It is God's blood, it is Jesus shed blood on the cross alone which saves you, and you simply receive that - that's faith. Accepting that free gift. Not looking to my heart to see, "Am I trusting enough?"; looking to Christ: there is all our righteousness. Now doesn't that bring a smile to your face?
What is the fastest killer of joy? It's not hard times. It's introspection. We live in the most self-obsessed, introspective age I think the world has ever seen. And I believe it's the culture of morbid introspection that is fuelling the spreading problem of depression. The cross is the Christian's ode to joy. And when the darkness comes for you, here in the cross is music so joyous it has the power to drive away every gloom. So when your heart feels cold, when your body closes you down, when your emotions imprison you, what do you do? You fight with God's word for perspective. That whatever I face, whatever I feel, this is the bigger picture. I do NOT depend on myself, I do not trust my heart. I have been taken utterly unworthy from the pit to the throne of heaven. Joy is something you cultivate. And if you can so shape your daily perspective that you know this before anything else, you will have a joy that can overcome death.