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SEPTEMBER 18 2016 WHO CAN STEAL YOUR JOY (DAVE THOMPSON)

                              

What is true biblical joy?  The most used Greek word for joy in the New Testament (chara) pronounced (khar-ah), which means exceedingly great gladness.  It can also mean a calm delight.

Joy is mentioned hundreds of times in the scriptures.  When you have that many references to an emotion or feeling then you would have to assume that it important to God and to us.  The problem we face today is that most people either do not understand joy and its importance to God’s people spiritually and physically.

I believe that most people think of happiness and being joyful as being the same thing.  If we take a good look at the two we will find that there can be a huge difference.  What does it take to make you happy?  Good weather, fine food, good company, a kind word or deed.  You make your own list.  Joy however requires more.  A perfectly grilled ribeye steak can make me very happy, but it does not bring me extreme joy.  Joy is reserved for more important things.  A new baby brings joy to the house.  Oh yes you may be happy also but that usually goes away after a few sleepless nights and a couple dozen dirty diapers.

Do you remember when Jesus knocked on the door of your heart and you let Him come in?  Were you happy or were you truly joyful?  How long did it take for you to forget about that joy and let the world come in and rob you?  It happens to all of us.  Fear, sorrow, pain and suffering are always ready to derail your joy train.  These are all tools that our enemy (Satan) uses to steal a Christian’s joy.  Do you think that Job was joyful when he lost his children, his wealth and his health?  He also had a wife who had no sympathy.  He had good meaning friends who were clueless.  There was no joy to be seen in his house.  The interesting thing about Job was that with all the great losses and suffering he did not give up on God.  While there may have been no joy on the outside he had to have the joy of the Lord inside. 

King David who was known as the man after Gods own heart, went through many trials.  Quite a few of his trials were the result of his own foolish sin.  He knew what true joy was and was not afraid to seek it.  In fact in Psalm 51:12 he asked for it.  “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation”.  Here it is folks the joy of our salvation can be lost or pushed so far back in our hearts and minds that we cannot find it.  It does not mean that it is gone it just means that we are not embracing it as we should.

Let’s go back to Job for a few minutes.  We know that Satan was given permission to test Job and was allowed to take away everything except his life.  There were some other joy stealers in the story.  Job’s wife was not helpful in restoring his joy.  In fact she told him to “curse God and die”.  The lesson here is that even family can steal your joy.  What if Job’s wife would have reminded him of all the wonderful things that God had done for him and had been an encouragement to him joy might have been restored.  Then you have his good friends.  Jobs problems had to be the result of some sin in his life according to them.  Well of course that had to be encouraging, right?  Come on old boy you know you did something to tick off God, just admit it.  Now, that really makes you exceedingly joyful doesn’t it.

Alright David we get it.  We can lose our joy and we have plenty of help getting that accomplished.  So give me some help.  Ok here it is.  It is your choice whether you are going to give in to the thief.  The Bible tells us to guard our heart.  Remember the joy of your salvation, remember God sent His Son to pay the price for your sins, remember the many wonderful gifts that God has given you, remember that no matter how hard or bad it gets God is on the throne and will not forsake his chosen people, remember that you are a child of God and remember that someday you will be with Him and see His glory.  That is something to have exceedingly great joy about!

If you are struggling with hardship, depression, sorrow or loss it is not the end of your world.  You may be experiencing trials as Job did.  In the end God restored everything and even more to him.  God can and will do the same for you.  God does not promise that you will always be happy.  He does not promise that you will only have good things in your life.  He does tell us that we will face trials and tribulations, but he also tells us that He will never leave or forsake us.  God will do what friend and family cannot do.  Call on Him, ask Him to restore the joy of your salvation and all the joy you have found in Him.

 

David Thompson