I’m reading a book by John Eldredge called, Walking with God, and in one chapter he tells about how a lady, who has a prophetic gifting, called him aside and told him, “The battle in your life is against your joy.” Each one of us has a battle. I think a lot of us has more than one battle, but the truth remains, there will always be a battle to overcome. Nobody’s life is just plain sailing, no matter what it looks like from the outside. The battles we fight are mostly not for the world to see. The battles we fight are in our minds, because that’s where the enemy is at work. No word comes out of our mouths if it wasn’t a thought in our mind first. Dr Caroline Leaf who is a neuroscientist has done years of practical research and she says that the thoughts we think dictate what our brains are going to look like physically. If we have negative thoughts the dendrites in our brains look like thorn trees and if we have positive thoughts they will look like trees with leaves. Obviously its much more complicated than that, that’s just my summary.
The devil has an assignment for each one of us, an assignment that doesn’t include God’s plans. An assignment for our downfall. The battle begins in our minds and the more we pay attention to what the enemy is telling us the worse the state of our minds become. It might look good for a while because that is how he is going to try to make us believe that we should follow what he is telling us. It definitely won’t stay good though. The enemy’s plans are to steal, kill and destroy you. John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus came so that we could have abundant life and with that abundant joy. John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Isn’t that just beautiful? Jesus wants our joy to be full. He doesn’t just want our glass half full, He wants our cup to be running over. There’s an Afrikaans Children’s song about Jesus dying for us that says, “Dit borrel in my want ek is so bly, Jesus het my lief, Dit borrel al weer, ek kan dit nie keer, ja Jesus het my lief.” It’s bubbling in me, I am so happy, Jesus loves me. It’s bubbling again, I can’t stop it, yes Jesus loves me. That is how we should be all the time. Bubbling over with the love of Jesus.
But very few of us are actually bubbling over with joy. It’s very hard to detect joy even in church. Even though we obviously allow the enemy to come and steal our joy, we often suppress it ourselves. We think things like, “I can’t even pay all my accounts, I don’t have the right to have fun. Or, I don’t spend enough time with my children because I’m working so hard to make ends meet, I can’t take time out to just enjoy life and living. What about, The economy is so bad if I don’t spend every minute in my business it’s never going to survive. Nobody is going to do the work the way I do it so I’ll just have to redo everything again.”
We don’t seem to think we are worthy of having joy in our lives. We are always working so hard to make ends meet, to please people, to live up to self imposed standards that we forget that we have been commanded to take a day of rest, and that joy is one of the fruit of the spirit. So do we really bear fruit if we don’t have joy? Is it okay to have only some of the fruit? I think they are a package deal because it says ‘fruit’ and not ‘fruits”.
We have to start recognizing the battles in our lives and start doing something about them. In which area of your life is the enemy attacking you? What does he want to steal from you? Health, finance, relationships, faith? Maybe he’s attacking your self control and patience. We know from Jeremiah 29:11 that God does have a plan for every life. Also Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. Don’t let the enemy steal from you one minute longer. If you need to confess something, then confess it. If you have an addiction or habit you need to overcome, then seek help and get it behind you. If you need to spend more time in the bible and in prayer then schedule it. We can’t be giving the enemy the satisfaction of being in charge of even a little part of our lives. We have to be overcomers and we have to do it now!