I posted my last post after reading the verse in this devotional, but before reading the entire thing. After reading the entire thing, I just had to put it all on here!
October 29, 2008
Keeping Our Joy
Micca Monda Campbell
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)
She waited until I had spoken to every woman in line. Once the room was empty, the woman timidly made her way toward me. Before she spoke a word, I could see and sense her grief. Her face was marked with depression and her shoulders hung low from the burden that she carried. With quivering lips and tear-filled eyes, she spoke words no mother wants to hear coming from her own lips.
“Please pray for my fifteen-year-old daughter. She’s pregnant.”
This godly woman has loved and served God in her home, church, and community for years. Now, she does nothing. Ashamed, she blames herself for her child’s choices, and because of them, considers herself unworthy to serve. Not only has this woman allowed her situation to steal her peace and joy, but her service too.
Many Christians fall into this same trap. They allow the enemy to rob them of their peace, steal their joy, and kill their witness over situations beyond their control.
It’s true. Satan has always been a tempter, but where he catches us off guard is by thinking he tempts us to do bad things. Our flesh mostly takes care of that job. The fact is Satan tempts us in order to lose what God has given us.
If Satan can rob our joy and steal our witness, then he makes us useless in the kingdom of God. Just like this mother, we become unproductive when our faith is stripped by unexpected heartbreak. Nevertheless, you and I must not let Satan use our circumstances to steal our joy.
That sounds good, but how do we find true joy in midst of heartache? We find it by depending on the Lord. David reminds us, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song” (Ps 28:7).
First, David believed God heard his cries. Second, he relied on God’s provision and strength. Third, David trusted in God’s help with all of his heart. This kept him from growing weak, losing heart, and giving up. Finally, because David believed God was for him, in him, with him, and behind him one hundred percent, David was able to give thanks with a joyful heart.
Like David and this mother I spoke with, we will experience situations that can steal our joy and leave us feeling unworthy to serve. To think this way is to see ourselves outside of God’s grace. You and I don’t serve God because we are good enough. We serve God because He’s good enough. It’s His perfection working through our imperfections.
By the same token, our joy is not defined by our circumstances. It’s based on our relationship with God who, in due time, will bring us out of our present situation.
Exercising faith in God - not circumstances - aids the discouraged heart so that Satan cannot steal our joy or our purpose.