24 July 2014

Defeating Thieves of Joy

Founders Note: Today on the blog we have are monthly contributor Jayda, she is sharing her heart on this month's theme joy. You can find out more about Jayda and her blog on are About page. 

When it comes to joy, the bible is pretty clear that it isn’t just a fluffy “good for some people” concept. It’s not just an emotion. It’s a way of life that God created for us, and wants us to embrace. Joy, specifically the joy that comes from knowing, loving, and trusting God, is supposed to be:

Our strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
One of many attributes that lead to a fuller, God honouring life (aka: a fruit of the spirit) (Galatians 5:22-23)
Our response in trouble (Habakkuk 3:18, 2 Corinthians 12:10)
Our response to God’s goodness and provision (Matthew 2:10)

When we put our faith completely in Christ, joy is a natural response to life. That said, there will always be things in life that attempt to rob us of the joy that we have in Christ. Sometimes those things are big and obvious; major hardships, loss, uncertainty, the list goes on. Most of the time though, thieves of joy are subtle. We often don’t realize that they are slowly sucking up our joy until we find ourselves exhausted, unsettled, and generally “bleh”, for lack of a better word. I think one of the most important precursors to preserving joy is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5; “Take every thought captive, making it obedient to Christ.” So often, the things that rob us of our joy are within our control; they take place in our very own minds and lives. Things like:

Comparison (and its best friend, jealousy). I don’t know about you, but this is a huge one for me. I’m getting better at not comparing, but I have to admit that there was a time when I would constantly find myself looking at other people and the good things they had, and evaluating my own life based on those standards. From the big life type things, to the ridiculous little things. Embarrassing truth: just yesterday, I had to stop myself from envying another girl’s lack of “thigh squish” at the gym (you know, when you sit down and your thighs become twice their usual size? She didn’t have that. At all.) Comparison is almost always rooted in coveting; ignoring the good in your own life, and wishing that God would give you the gifts he has given to someone else. The bible is pretty clear about that (Exodus 20:17). It’s not what God wants for us, and it steals our joy!

Worry. Oh, worry. Another giant thief of joy. We cannot be joyful when we are not trusting. And we cannot trust when we are worrying (Matthew 6:25-34) It’s a hard one to control; sometimes worrying seems like the only way to control a situation. Praying is good. Using the brain that God gave you to come up with solutions is a good follow-up. But worrying? Literally nothing good ever comes from that.

Pride. My life’s motto is Micah 6:8; “And what does the Lord require of you?...that you would act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” I didn’t have the best understanding of humility, until I heard Timothy Keller say this: “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” When I see myself as better than someone else, it’s pride. But, when I get all bummed about who I am and go around thinking that everyone else is somehow superior to me, that’s pride too. Either way, my focus is on me. Humility is having confidence in who God made you, because he is good; to live humbly is to put yourself aside, and focus on God’s will. It’s loving others unconditionally and without comparison.

Busyness. It’s definitely not bad or wrong to have a lot going on in your life. But filling your life with activities and commitments that don’t really matter to you is just exhausting. Lack of rest is a thief of joy for sure. I’m a huge “yes” person, and God has had to work on my heart about saying “yes” to things out of obligation; especially things that our supposed to serve Him. Serving him with a heart that would rather be resting at home than playing music at church does no one any good. It’s okay to say “no”; it’s better to serve less often and joyfully than to serve constantly with a “meh” attitude!

Another note about defeating busyness; for me, this has also translated to the way I relax. I used to spend my “relaxing” time watching tv while flipping through Pinterest, painting my nails, making cookies, talking on the phone, putting out forest fires, and solving the world hunger crisis all at the same time…basically, I was doing a bazillion things, and not actually getting any relaxation from any of them. God pointed out my lack of peace in these situations; I was busy even when I was resting. Times of rest and solitude with God are important when it comes to maintaining joy. Jesus knew that. (Luke 5:16)

Of course, there are many other thieves of joy that I didn’t include here. It’s so important to evaluate our thoughts and lives, and replace the thoughts and activities that steal our joy with those that replenish and support it. Joy is a better way to live!

What kinds of things try to steal your joy? 

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