If I were your enemy, I’d seek to dim your passion, dull your interest in spiritual things, dampen your belief in God’s ability and His personal concern for you, and convince you that the hope you’ve lost is never coming back… and was probably just a lie to begin with. By Priscilla Shirer, FerVent
Other excerpts from FerVent… If I were your enemy, I’d devalue your strength and magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be. I’d magnify your fears, making them appear insurmountable, intimidating you with enough worries until avoiding them becomes your driving motivation. I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you, leaving you indecisive, clingy to safety and sameness… I’d make everything seem urgent, as if it’s all yours to handle. I’d bog down your calendar with so many expectations you couldn’t tell the difference between what’s important and what’s not. I’d create division between you and other Christians, anyone with the potential for uniting with you in battle against me and my plans!
I love the way Priscilla shows us how the enemy may and often does come at us. In battle, the more we are prepared for the ways we may be attacked or ambushed the better we can defend and fight it off.
Over the last few weeks I have been talking about the fruits of the spirit and this week I wanted to talk about Joy!
Over the last several weeks, ok, months now, I have had a pretty crazy schedule. Between travel, conferences, classes, work and still trying to spend time with my family and friends. I was finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. When I got sick! It was the day before I was supposed to speak on a Sunday. Started with sore throat and losing my voice, as the week went on it turned into bronchitis and upper respiratory stuff! Some of our highlights during that same week: we had a major unexpected expense at our home, my husband ended up in ER with a kidney stone, my father in law’s cold turned into pneumonia, my co-worker was on vacation, electrical storm took out our power for a few hours one morning… Some of you may be thinking, well that’s nothing, let me tell you about my week!
Wait! We are talking about joy, right?!
See joy is easy during the good times, perfect days, but it’s really just a luxury during those times. In the difficult or trying times is when joy becomes a necessity! Too often we tie our joy to our circumstances, so anytime something goes wrong we immediately lose our joy. See we know the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy! But often it’s not with the one “big thing”, it’s with the “million little things”!
I love and need to be reminded of Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
I found myself throughout this week dipping into a pity party, (can anyone relate to that?), often with my head foggy from medicine and congestion! Then I would acknowledge to myself, my pity party was a feeling, but it really wasn’t effecting my inner joy. Let me explain.
If you have ever sang the song or heard of “It is well with my Soul”…
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
The writer of this song, Horatio Spafford, you can read more about his story, but he wrote this song shortly after finding out that he and his wife had lost their four daughters on a ship that sank in the Atlantic. That kind of grief seems unimaginable to me. But what this father was talking about was his soul, our soul is our spiritual side.
The confusing thing with Joy is when we look up its definition. Joy: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure.
When the bible list joy as a fruit of the spirit… it’s not just a feeling, it’s more to do with the condition of your soul, your spiritual side.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (Remember Paul was in prison while writing these words.)
Know the Word, be ready for battle when the enemy shows up in all the ways mentioned above! Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12
I choose JOY because it is well with my SOUL!