Psalm 35:9 “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.”
Many might think the roar of a crowd, the shout of gladness at a battle won, a victory gained, even tears shed because of truth is reason for rejoicing. But, have we missed it? Have we missed what God has given to us to sustain our spirit amidst such wickedness?
Rejoicing; or revisiting our joy, comes when we return to the place where it all began. For me, it was underneath some bushes outside of my workplace over 27 years ago where I met the Lord Jesus Christ for the very first time as my Lord and Savior.
I did not need to make Him Lord of my life to be saved; I believed and trusted by faith that He would remove the punishment and payment for sin by accepting His free gift. That day, I got off of my knees not just changed – but transformed. New life began that day. The Holy Spirit of God came and took residence in me. I was and am now sealed unto the day of redemption; never to lose that which I’ve been given that day!
But there was something else that happened that day as well – I made an enemy. You see, before I got saved, I was a child of the devil. Many could testify of the evidence in my life of that fact. Cursing flowed from my lips. Sin and wickedness brought no shame or guilt. I was a good sinner. The only guilt I may have carried was the fact that I got caught. I was easily influenced to do wrong and gave in to sin more than I resisted.
But, someone was praying. Praying for my soul. The chain of events that brought me to myself that day came on the knees of praying saints who cared for my soul. As I rose up from my knees, I did so as a child of God; adopted into a royal family. Made to be joint heirs with the Son of the Most High God. I was made a priest, an ambassador; viewed by my Father as righteous – righteous as His own Son.
Satan’s hatred for what I had done set me on a path that would collide at every choice, every turn, every thought I would ever have from that day forward. Satan is God’s enemy in every way. He seeks to turn you and I from God’s will to do his. He wants to use us to so hurt the heart of God and destroy what God wants to do through us for others.
In Satan’s world, there is no hope. There is no light. There is no love. There is an insatiable thirst for darkness and wickedness. There is a burning hatred for everything good and right. There is no joy.
So, when we find ourselves in a place where joy has seemingly taken a vacation, what are we to do? The truth is that the ‘joy-stealer’; Satan, has been at work to slowly steal away our joy.
His subtilty at removing us from the place of security, safety and communion with God has been his life’s work. Throughout history, he has watched us stumble and fall at the many roadblocks he has placed in our way.
So, how do we combat this foe? By his very nature, he is far more powerful than we are. Hand to hand combat will be a disaster. Pretending he doesn’t exist, or ignoring his work in our life would be foolish.
2 Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
That place where each of us found true joy – at salvation – must be visited often. To fully embrace the joy we have available, needs the same humility it took when we first came. It needs the fear of God; the realization that we could never attain, reach or earn this joy, this love, this peace and happiness that only the God of Heaven can impart on our own.
Every saved child of God is assaulted by the enemy in very subtle, devious and deceptive ways every day. This battle will rage till we breathe our last.
Now, we cannot will ourselves joyful, or happy. Many seek it because we have left the place where we first found it. Joy came at salvation. Revisiting that time and just who we were when Jesus found us can be a humbling thing.
Can you read the account of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus unaffected? Do you fail to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit any more? Has our heart grown cold over time and we are allowing the things of this world to steal what is left of our joy?
One activity that can keep us close to the joy is winning others to the Lord Jesus Christ. The retelling of the story of salvation to lost sinners never grows old. To tell them of the wondrous story of love, mercy and grace. To shed light into their darkness and watch them come to the light as we did that day, can be a wonderful experience!
Also, to disciple a newborn babe in Christ can keep our hearts aflame with the love of God as we teach them of just Who it is they trusted for salvation, how they are kept by His power and have a home eternal waiting on the other side.
What of teaching the precious truths of God’s Word to His children? Preaching the unsearchable riches or just reading and meditating on His Word? Joy can be found. It is not elusive. Satan may try to hide the path to joy from us through deception and the lure of sin, but ultimately, we are the ones who decide to revisit that place of joy.
If you find yourself distant, alone and even despairing of any joy or happiness; know this my friend – you are NOT alone. The very promise of God keeps us closer that we may ever think or feel.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Set aside some time – read the account of the crucifixion. Try to imagine the extreme punishment our Savior endured for us. Envision the beating, the mocking of the crowd, the rejection of not only His disciples, the religious and the crowd that followed; but the ultimate turning away of His Father as all the sins of the world were placed upon Him. It was one thing that kept Jesus on task:
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Yes, sin keeps us away. But because we have a Savior, that place is not permanent.
Psalm 30:5 “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
May your morning – THIS morning – be joy-filled for WHo it is you meet and fellowship with today!