Joy is a condition of the heart.
It is a state of mind.
It is a gift from God.
It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
I remember being arrested and in jail many years ago for street witnessing. There were about 25 or 30 men in the main lock up area where I was put. It was a miserable group of men. I stood on the floor and spoke loudly,
“How many of you are happy?'
You can imagine the looks and the words that were shouted at me. Then I calmly said,
“Tonight I want to talk about 'How to be happy in jail'!'
No one got up and walked out! Ha.
I wrote a column about joy when I did a series about the 'Fruits of the Spirit'. I would suggest you go to that link on this website and read it. However on this column I want to shift the focus a bit to what it takes to 'Steal Joy'.
Many of us know that at some point in life you may have had joy in your heart. There was peace with God and a peace that passes all understanding filling your hear. The joy you had came from within. Your heart was full. You experienced what Jesus said:
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water."
But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was, not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39 in the Holy Bible)
The joy of the Lord flowed from within and out through your life and smile.
Then something happened! The joy is gone!
You sing, you pray, you read your Bible, you go to church, you give, you serve, and you love and forgive but that same joy is not there. You have lost a great treasure.
What stole your joy?
I think there are many things that can rob you of your joy.
The Devil, Jesus said has come to steal, kill and destroy. You have been the object of an attack of Satan and his demons and he has stolen your joy or killed your joy or destroyed your joy !
Resist him and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with 'joy'. That is a fruit of the Spirit.
Disappointments have shattered your dreams and you have a feeling of hopelessness!
Have faith in God. Trust Him and know that He loves you. Jesus understands. Remember when Jesus looked out over the city of Jerusalem and wept for the people because they did not receive Him. Yet He went on.
Guilt of sin that has not been confessed and repented of!
There is nothing that can steal your joy like holding on to sin. Repent and feel the freshness of a clean and joyful heart.
Self-centeredness can steal your joy.
There is no way on earth for a self-centered person to always get their way. This causes frustration and anger and in this way you are self-destructing.
Anger steals joy. Some of you have anger at God; some have anger at other people. Some have anger at yourself!
Joy is lost when anger comes in.
I might add at this point that there is a difference between fun or a thrill and joy!
Many things can be 'fun' to do. It gives a moment or hour or day of thrill but that is not a inner condition of joy in the heart. This is not what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is. Oh for sure you can have joy and fun at the same time. You can have joy and a thrill at the same time. This is living a blessed and glorious life following Jesus.
Confusion steals joy!
Physical pain and suffering often takes away joy!
It is often a very difficult thing to do to maintain joy in physical suffering. This happens with long or severe sickness. The same could be said for those imprisoned or facing other physical difficulties.
When one is confused about their life and purpose, joy flees.
Fear is a joy stealer!
Fear that things will not work out for you about your life or certain matters steals one's joy.
Lack of faith steals joy!
Sometimes one loses faith that Jesus is ruling and reigning and that God is in control. In a heart that has its faith shaken there is little room for joy.
I could continue this list much more but I am sure you have not focused on the area of your heart and life that is robbing you of the joy God wants you to have.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart.
Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and
He shall direct your paths . (Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Holy Bible)
I would like to deal with one more subject before I go on. There are some people that because of experiences in life doubt that God wants them to have 'joy'. They feel suffering and sadness is their lot in life. They have almost resolved themselves to a joyless life.
One of the 'fruits of the Spirit' is 'joy'. Therefore God wants every one of His children to have joy!
I got an e-mail the other day from someone saying that Jesus suffered and they did not see that Jesus had joy. Well let me point this out to you.
“Looking unto Jesus,
the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the
Joy that was set before Him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
(Hebrews 12:2-3 in the Holy Bible)
Jesus had joy. Joy in knowing that He was redeeming for Himself a family of followers that would spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said,
"I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
(Luke 10:21 in the Holy Bible)
There is 'joy' in heaven now! Jesus is there as well as with us.
"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons.
“I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
(Luke 15:7, Luke 15:10 in the Holy Bible)
Now may the 'Joy of the Lord' be your strength every moment of every day no matter what you face in life.
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
(Nehemiah 8:10 in the Holy Bible)
“Make me to hear joy and gladness.'
(Psalms 51:8 in the Holy Bible)
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing,
with everlasting joy on their heads .
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.'
(Isaiah 35:10 in the Holy Bible)
“To console those who mourn in Zion ,
to give them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
(Isaiah 61:3 in the Holy Bible)
'These things we write to you that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:4
In the Name of Jesus let nothing steal your Joy that has been given to you by the Holy Spirit as a gift from God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Heaven is full of Joy! Read the Book of Revelation.
So practice for heaven now!
Remember Joy is in Jesus. Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever!
So know that joy should fill our hearts no matter what we face or what difficulties we face. We can weep with deep pain as Jesus did. We can suffer and care and feel all the pain of injustice, loss of a loved one, and etc. Yet there can be a deep inner joy through it all because:
JESUS IS WITH YOU ALWAYS!
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt