I have been taking the ladies in my Titus Group Bible Study through the book of Philippians. As we study this fantastic letter the Apostle Paul wrote, we discover the joy in all circumstances God provides us in salvation. This letter is often referred to as "The Epistle of Joy."
If joy is a gift for us to enjoy and have in certain circumstances, why do so many believers seem to lack it today? I have three reasons why our God-given gift of joy is robbed and how we can overcome it.
1. Satan and His Army
Though the enemy is defeated at the cross (Colossians 2:15) and He who lives in us is greater than he who lives in the world, Satan and his army will do all they can to frustrate us. Satan knows he can't take away our salvation. He will, however, try to steal our joy. Satan will keep throwing circumstances at us to distract us from the satisfaction of our salvation. Another way he steals our joy is by using false teachers. False teachers keep us discontent by always seeking pleasure here on this earth. Health, wealth, and prosperity became our focus, and we sought to be entertained with new experiences instead of finding joy in every season of life and being completely satisfied in Christ apart from experiences. If he can get our eyes off Christ and our glorious salvation, he can steal our joy using every means possible. This is why Paul tells us to keep our eyes fixed on heaven. (Verses Staying Heavenly Minded)
1. Not Understanding God's Sovereignty
When we do not have a biblical worldview on the sovereignty of God, it will rob us of our joy. God is in control of everything. He rules over all the earth, and though Satan has limited power, God is still ultimately in control. We are in His hands, and nothing will snatch us out. He tends to us as a good shepherd tends to his sheep. He has a watchful eye on us. Even when Satan attacks or throws us distractions, it is still under the sight of God, who promises that everything will work out for our good and His glory. This brings the believer great joy when we trust God and believe in His sovereignty over our lives. No matter what we face, we can count it all joy, just as the Apostle Paul did in his many misfortunes. (God's Sovereignty Verses)
1. Controlled by Feelings
Feelings are fickle! Emotions will keep us on a never-ending roller coaster. Circumstances are constantly changing, causing our emotions to change with them. When we stand on the solid ground of our salvation in Christ, recognizing His control, we will be tossed around like debris in the ocean waves. Elijah was ruled by his emotions and lost his joy. One minute he defeats the prophets of Baal and the next, he runs into the woods, wanting to die because Jezebel threatened his life. In one circumstance, his eyes were on God; in the other, he put his eyes on man/woman and forgot that God is in control. Our joy is robbed when we allow circumstances to take our eyes off Christ.
Christ paid a high price for us to have the gift of joy. Our joy is in the Lord and the finished work. When life is throwing everything at you, remember that this is temporary. Your salvation is finished! Christ paid your debt in full. This life is sometimes tricky, and we can get swallowed up by distractions. Keep our eyes on the prize; our eternal life and joy will not be so quickly taken from you. Satan has been defeated, God is in control, and our feelings will change directions like the wind, but God will never leave or forsake us. We are in the palm of His mighty hand. (Full Teaching)