Wherever people know, love, and worship God, His love instills a joy that only He can give into the hearts of His worshipers. When we are not rooted in God’s Word and not studying it continuously and not going before our heavenly Father often in prayer, it leaves us open for a wide range of attacks from the father of lies, Satan.
I’ve learned through past experience that the evil one has various strategies that he uses, and he tries to set up roadblocks in the path of our spiritual growth – such as discouragement, moral failure, frustration, confusion, laziness, etc. If we succumb to these strategies, our joy will be diminished……until we come before our Father and ask for His forgiveness for falling into such traps, snares….sin !
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin and therefore interfere with the flow of joy (among other things) from God. Without forgiveness there can be no restoration of joy. We serve a God of love who desires to forgive us when we truly repent of the traps we have fallen into, regardless of how far or long we have wandered off. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. James 4:10.
It is also necessary to forgive ourselves. If we have truly repented of a sin, it is His desire to forgive us of that sin. We must put it behind us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
If we have not accepted His forgiveness, our joy cannot be restored. Satan wants to remind us of our sins, so that we dwell on them, causing shame and guilt to creep in, in an attempt to keep the door of restoration closed.
The defense of joy
We must resolve by God’s grace not to yield to Satan. If we give way, he will get ground. If we distrust our Lord, or our cause, or our armor, we give Satan an advantage. In Ephesians 6:11, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Again in v.13 a Paul says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God.”
In Psalm 32:11 it reads, “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for Joy, all you upright in heart!” William MacDonald comments on this: “But the humble believer is surrounded by the mercy of the Lord. So it is only fitting that the righteous should be glad in the Lord and should shout for joy.”
The testimony of joy
Paul says that we can be sorrowful yet always rejoicing. If we are in the midst of a situation that legitimately brings us sorrow, our inner joy is never taken away. When we are walking closely with the Lord, that inner joy becomes an outward expression that is a marvelous testimony of how the Lord is working in us and through us.
The goal of every Christian should not be happiness because the Bible never promises happiness to the believer. But joy? That is a totally different story. While happiness is temporary and is based upon happenings, joy is from the Lord and you can still experience joy during trials, suffering, and testing.
The permanence of joy
Joy is permanent but happiness is fleeting. James says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that your faith produces patience” James 1:2-3. What a tremendous privilege to be walking with the joy of the Lord in our hearts, which comes from staying close to Him by staying in His word, being in prayer often….and fleeing from all evil !! In everything give thanks, even when being tempted. But be aware and do not succumb.
Though our joy may be diminished occasionally, it can never be taken away from a true believer. Draw near to Him, serve Him, and pray often “Hallelujah…what a savior!!”.
But we never can prove
The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the Joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.