I have to be honest. Ole Smutty face, our family name for Satan, can steal my joy faster than I can flick a tick off of the dog. Boy, did that sentence show my southern roots or what? (I’m cracking myself up here!) Anyway. It’s true. The enemy’s number one job is to steal and kill what God has given us. And God has given us joy! Do you remember that childhood song you sang in Sunday school way back when?
“I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart!”
Second Verse: Sing it with me…
“I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart!”
Even though I sang that song as a child, I didn’t get the true meaning of it. How could I? There wasn’t anything in my childhood that induced sadness. Oh, sure I had my moments of displeasure, and I knew how to throw a fit about it too. (Translation for those who live in other countries and northern states: to throw a fit is to have a tantrum.) But most of the time, I was happy.
I think children are just naturally happy and content with their circumstances. That’s because their circumstances are arranged to meet their needs. When hungry, their tummy’s are filled; when downcast, they are encouraged; when bored, they are taught to play; and when their tiny eyelids grow sleepy, someone tucks then into a warm, soft bed to rest for the night. It’s also natural for a child to be happy because she doesn’t have to face facts.
It’s not until we reach adulthood that we face facts. It’s then we realize that happiness is associated with circumstances. When all is going well, we are happy—but when our circumstances go sour, so do we.
Joy is much different than happiness. It doesn’t come from our circumstances. Joy comes from doing God’s will. Jesus said, “My joy is made full when I’m doing the will of the Father.” You and I were created for purpose; for service. When we are doing what we were created for than joy fills our hearts and peace rules. On the other hand, when you and I attempt to live life apart from God’s purposes, it’s like a coffee mug trying to fly.
Wouldn’t it be strange if I got up this morning, reached for a coffee cup, and proceeded to fill it with hot coffee when all of a sudden it protested? “Hey!” Don’t put that coffee in me. I’m not a cup. I’m a Frisbee.” (Okay, I know this is a strange analogy but hang with me for a second. It is early, you know.)
Let’s say I buy the mugs argument, open the back door, and attempt to fly the coffee mug as if it were a Frisbee. I dare say the results would be tragic. Upon impact, the mug would shatter into a million little pieces and scatter across my patio. The first thing my kids would say after running down the stairs to see what crashed is, “I’m not cleaning that up.”
It’s usually while we’re trying to clean up the broken pieces of a life lived apart from God that we wonder where has our joy has gone. For others, we’ve found ourselves mixed up in the circumstances of family or friends and we’ve allowed that situation steal our joy. We know our joy is there somewhere—but where?
Something happens when the easy flow of life is interrupted by chaos. We switch something off. Most of the time, it’s our faith we turn off. We stop following God and walking in light of truth because of what our circumstances are telling us.
Oh sure, you and I are fine when God is blessing us, but when the blessings stop—we stop. The problem is our aim. We are aiming for happiness instead of joy. Joy is only achieved in following after God and fulfilling our created purpose.
So, where are you today? Has Satan stolen your joy?
If so, how has this affected your witness; your life; and your service to the kingdom?
What do you plan to do about it? I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep following Christ. And as I do, you’ll hear me singing… “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!”
Come on…sing it with me! “Down in my heart to stay!!”