If I have confessed and forsaken sin and still do not have joy, what then? There are several possible explanations:

1)    You have confessed and forsaken your big sins, but not the little ones that set you up for them. “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression” (Psalm 19:13).

2)    You do not believe that God has forgiven you. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

3)    You are not obeying Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” That is a command. Disobeying it is sin. Confess and forsake the sin of not rejoicing.

4)    You do not think it is right to rejoice in forgiveness after sinning like you did. This is a lie from the devil. If you have confessed and forsaken the sin, God has forgiven you, and He wants you to rejoice in His forgiveness.

5)    You think you have to do some sort of penance to prove that you really meant your confession. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

6)    There are two types of sorrow. Worldly sorrow is remorse. It leads to death. There is no virtue in it. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and leaves no regret. If you still have regret, you have not repented with godly sorrow.

7)    It is possible that you are not saved. God has promised everlasting joy to His children. “The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zionwith singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 51:11). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Galatians 5:22).

Whatever the reason, if you lack joy, you are under some sort of chastening. Find out what the sin is and confess it. You will not find it by introspection; that will only make you depressed. Come into God’s presence. Ask Him to search your heart.

*Excerpted from Being Christian. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore