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. Not Having a Thankful Heart
Much like the Israelites in the wilderness, they would quickly forget all the great things God had done for them. One minute they are amazed at the delicious food He was providing from heaven, and the next, they want new leadership so they can be led back to Egypt.
We, too, can often quickly forget all the beautiful ways God has blessed us when things are not quite our way. Paul reminds us that we are to rejoice in all circumstances. We can remain grateful even in the hard seasons when we have a thankful heart. Verses On Being Grateful
We do this by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and the finished work of the cross. We are placed in the palm of our Father's hand, where nothing and no one can snatch us out. We have the entire inheritance that was given to Jesus, given to us. This inheritance will never be taken from us or corrupted by any circumstance. We are promised that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. Paul reminds us that He, Jesus, who starts a good work, will complete it. No matter what we face, because of Jesus, we can count it all joy, even through various trials.
I encourage you to get a journal and write in it every evening before bed all the beautiful things to be grateful for from that day. Some days it may only be that you are breathing and saved! You can always find more to be thankful for, but I also understand some days and seasons are extremely difficult.
Our Joy is robbed:
2. When We Do Not Receive His Forgiveness in Full
One thing that steals joy is not understanding the total forgiveness given to us at the cross. I walked around for years thinking if I messed up, God was waiting to punish me or, worse yet, take my salvation from me. I did not have a proper understanding of the glorious gospel. The entire law was against me; I had broken all the commandments of God. I owed a debt I could never pay. It says in Colossians 2:13 that Jesus took my sin entirely and forever. He paid my debt in full. When I learned about the doctrine of imputation - (teaching here), It was as if a ton of bricks fell off me. The grace of God was poured out on us by the shed blood of His Son on the cross. When Jesus declared, "It Is Finished," He meant it. All my sin, past, present, and future, is covered.
I am not giving a license to sin because when we become born again, we are given a new nature, the nature of God. We have a new relationship with sin and a desire to be holy and walk as Jesus walked. We do not do this perfectly, so we have Jesus advocating for us day and night. He is our attorney, and Satan is the prosecutor. Satan is busy accusing us day and night, and Christ is defending us because He took it all. When I finally accepted the complete sacrifice of Jesus for all my sins, I understood why I could have joy even in trials. When I am battling the sin that still dwells in me and sometimes scares me, I can continue the battle with joy, knowing my salvation is secure in Him. I have the freedom to walk out of my sanctification without fear. God loves us more than He will ever love us because His love is eternal. He is not growing in His love for you; you already have all of it. (Teaching on God's Love)
If you are battling sin, get with an Elder or Spiritual Titus Woman of the faith and work with them on getting to the root so you can overcome it. However, count it all joy during that process because your sin debt is paid in full!
Joy is robbed:
3. When We Hold on To Unforgiveness
Have you ever heard, "Hold onto unforgiveness is like taking a syringe full of poison and injecting yourself but expecting the other person to die"?
When I first heard that, it made sense to me. I had so much unforgiveness towards so many who had hurt me. I did not know how to stop injecting myself with the poison. The abuse inflicted on me by others is nothing compared to the abuse I inflicted upon myself from unhealed wounds and unforgiveness.
I had no joy. I was full of anxiety, depression and controlled by PTSD. My happiness was robbed because I did not know how to heal from all the pain.
I learned it started with forgiveness. I often say we are like onions. We have layers to our lives, and each layer is another part of the onion being peeled back, revealing for healing is what I call it. God started to peel back my onion and reveal to me that I had unforgiveness towards my abusers.
I thought that forgiving my abusers meant what they did was somehow ok, or I had to go to them in person and face them, or worse yet, allow them to eat at my table again. These are misconceptions about forgiveness that keep us bound.
What is the definition of forgiveness? "To cease to feel resentment against someone (an offender)."
Forgiveness is an action to release you from your efforts. Forgiveness is an action, not a feeling. We take action in forgiveness in the Grief Recovery Method. We verbally communicate that they hurt us and how we feel about the situation.
When I started the forging process, I wrote down the person and everything they did or said to me. I cried it out and allowed myself to feel the pain. I asked Holy Spirit to help me forgive. I wrote down scriptures on forgiving those who hurt me. I admitted to God this was hard but I wanted to be free from the pain. This was indeed a process and took work, but today I am free because I started with forgiving others. My joy has been restored; even when people still hurt me, I can quickly forgive and keep my fun in the Lord. (Bible Verses on Forgiveness)
If you want to counsel in this area or know more about Grief Recovery Method, book an appointment with me on my website