The word “joy” appears 218 times in the Bible (NIV). Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Joy is considered “good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) Jesus says we can have the same joy that lives in him live in us. (John 15:11)
Joy is kind of a big deal.
So why do we sabotage our joy in the Lord? Why do we repeatedly allow joy-stealers to invade our life? Joy is something we desperately crave yet rarely protect once we have it.
Here are 3 sure-fire ways to eliminate joy in your life:
Our joy comes from our security in Christ Jesus – not in our self-reliance. The moment we take our eyes off Christ and begin focusing on ourselves we will begin to see joy slip away. Paul says in Philippians 2 that we need to be “like-minded” with Christ and “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.”
James tells us that selfishness brings about disorder (3:16), and I know of no one who thrives and finds joy in disorder. Ultimately, it was pride that got Lucifier thrown out of heaven (Ezekiel 28:17) so we know that pride cannot coexist with the holiness of God. Therefore, our continued joy hinges on our humility and our discipline to submit ALL things to Christ.
Time and again fear destroys joy because it inserts a false narrative of hopelessness. Perhaps you know someone, perhaps you are someone, who lives a life driven by fear. Yet Paul tells us, “For God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) We have a choice to accept God’s spirit and its fruits or choose the spirit of fear which is not of God. We will find no joy in the latter.
John says a perfect love (God) casts out fear and “whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) Only when we hand over our fears to the Lord do we once again begin to experience peace and joy. Therefore, our joy lies solely and exclusively in the Lord.
The subtle sin of discontent knows no bounds. Our consumer-based society markets discontent and then sells joy as a remedy in the form of pills, toys, cars, houses, and a host of other products. If we were content, we would have no perceived need to buy what they were selling so they have to steal any joy you may have so that you become discontent and NEED their remedies. It’s a sick mind game, really.
In Philippians 4 Paul says he knows what it is like to have everything, and nothing. To be hungry, and well fed. To live with plenty, and in want. Ultimately, Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (4:11) Our joy cannot depend on our circumstances. Our joy cannot depend on others. Our joy has one source and one source only = Jesus Christ.
Joy-stealers lie in the dark corners of our life. Waiting. Just waiting to be exposed.
What to do? Pray this:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 (NLT)