Someone recently reminded me that we can’t let our joy be robbed from us as believers. They went on to say, “that when we lose our joy, we lose our strength.” They are basically quoting Nehemiah 8:10 which says, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” This small, seemingly insignificant conversation was like a defibrillator to my spirit and it shocked me out of my self-pity and self-focus. It got me looking up again.
The presence of God is constant. He isn’t like some bad or broken WIFI that has intermittent signal. He lives inside every believer and we have consistent, constant and unrestricted access to him. This access doesn’t change daily, weekly or monthly. Once the Holy Spirit resides within us, He stays there. And we have access to all His strength, His fruit, His power, His leading, and His directing always.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Joy is a part of His character and nature. This is consistent with what scripture tells us: Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
Joyless Christianity is very dangerous. In Philippians 3:1 Paul reminds Christians, “Finally, my brothers (and sisters), rejoice in the Lord. To write these same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.” Paul is clearly reminding Christians that rejoicing is a safeguard. To stay safe requires you to protect your joy. Lose your joy, and you lose your strength; you lose heart; you lose hope; and you weaken your spirit man. Any wonder then why the enemy will be intent on robbing you of your joy!
What do we do then when our joy is gone?
1) Acknowledge that the enemy has robbed you of your joy. Doesn’t the Bible tell us that trouble, trials and tribulations will come to the Christian? It doesn’t mean you have failed or don’t have enough faith. If you believe that, you have walked into another enemy trap – condemnation. Life happens, things come against us and as human beings that can take a toll on us. But when we recognise this, when we see it’s not because of sin or rebellion (if it is, you need to repent and close that door), then we can rise up and fight our enemy. James 1:1-12 is a great explanation of the testing of our faith. Joylessness is a trial. Don’t question your salvation when you lose your joy but understand as a child of God you have an enemy intent on robbing, killing and destroying. Once you recognise it, you are half way there to correcting it.
2) Go to Jesus and ask Him to restore your joy and to sustain you.
Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” It’s human nature to pull away when in difficulty or in a crisis. We consistently withdraw from the one who has everything we need to overcome. He doesn’t withdraw from us. Run to Him; press into Him; draw near to Him and His promise is that He will restore His joy to you and He will sustain you.
3) Find satisfaction in nothing else.
If your soul is satisfied in Christ, you will rejoice in Christ. Take your eyes off Christ, put them on yourself, another, or your situation, and you will lose your joy. Joy is the barometer of your spiritual life. Jesus said in John 15:10-11, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love… These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Please note, Jesus isn’t talking about happy emotion here, but rather about His joy in us. Joy must therefore be a bi-product of our salvation and not an emotion or feeling based on our circumstance or situation. Joy is a deep delight in the person of Jesus Christ! Joy is the foundation of our relationship with Christ and our obedience to Him.
Have you lost your joy? It’s urgent that you find it again and soon. Draw near to Christ, press into the One who gives you His joy; a joy that sustains and keep you. Draw on His power and His strength and you will find that you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:8-9). As you press into Him your joy will increase and unhappiness decrease.
My prayer is that “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope (and joy) by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).