It really all began when I overheard a lady talking with her husband in the booth behind the boys and I at Chick-fil-A one afternoon. Mind you, I don't make a habit of eavesdropping on others' conversations. She was sitting directly behind me, though, and, wanting to or not, I could hear her words as she spoke. I don't know what started their conversation, but she simply told her husband that it seemed she was surrounded by women with little or no joy in their lives. And, it was wearisome.
Her statement struck a heart's string with me. Could someone I know say that of me? Was joy evident in my life or was I wearing people down with my countenance? You and I both know something like this doesn't bother someone unless one is struggling with such an issue. Yes, even though from the outside looking in, my life may look kind of picture perfect. It's not. I am blessed beyond measure and I thank God for everything He has provided. (John 3:27 NLT..."John replied, 'No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.'") Without Him, I would indeed be lost...in more ways than one. However, as life goes, there are goals unmet, dreams unrealized, questions unanswered. Existing situations in which I struggle to find joy on a day to day basis. Satan will use any opportunity he can in order to try and steal my joy. The KJV says it best in John 10:10..."The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
I was reminded this week of Bible time at Bible Memory Camp this past summer when our Bible teacher led us through "It is written..." passages of scripture and how we can defeat our foe with the Word of God. Speaking is powerful. Speaking the very Word of God is awesomely powerful! A tool I don't always choose as my first defense. You'd think I would have learned by now...
So you think you can steal my joy, Satan? Think again.
For it is written...
"For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place." 1 Chronicles 16:26-28
"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21
"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever." Psalm 30:11-12
"Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them." Psalm 126:5-6
"But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." Isaiah 35:9b-10
And, my favorite especially for Christmastime...
"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:9-11
Just a couple of days ago I took notice that alot of Christmas carols/songs sing of joy. Not that I didn't know it already, but the word just kept being highlighted in my mind as I heard (and sang along with) the carols. People wish each other a joyous New Year. Spread joy, we're told. Be joyful. Well, honestly, I've come to realize joy has nothing to do with us. But it has everything to do with Jesus. You don't have joy until you have Jesus as Savior. When I am low on joy, it's not because He's not with me; it's because I've left Him and God's Word for something else. I left joy when I left Jesus out of the number one priority of my moment...day...life. If joy is hard to find, I must seek Jesus in order to find it.
Like the carol sings:
The Lord has come...may my heart prepare Him room so that joy, unspeakable joy, is abundant and evident.Joy to the World , the Lord is come!Let earth receive her King;Let every heart prepare Him room,And Heaven and nature sing,And Heaven and nature sing,And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!Let men their songs employ;While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plainsRepeat the sounding joy,Repeat the sounding joy,Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.No more let sins and sorrows grow,Nor thorns infest the ground;He comes to make His blessings flowFar as the curse is found,Far as the curse is found,Far as, far as, the curse is found.He rules the world with truth and grace,And makes the nations proveThe glories of His righteousness,And wonders of His love,And wonders of His love,And wonders, wonders, of His love.
1 Peter 1:7-9..."That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."