faith

The Struggle for Joy

 

If  you’re in the trenches trying to find joy in your life, you are not alone.

A few months ago, I wrote about this struggle in an article entitled, “If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Not Happy?” Here’s a piece of that post. It’s a reason why we face this giant:

“. . . .  when the struggle is great, I believe the enemy is worried and doing all he can to shut. us. down! We’re onto him. We know his tactics. They’re getting old, amen!?”

I needed to read that today. Maybe you did too. I hope those words will help as you struggle for your joy, or anguish over a loved one’s joy battle.

Does it help to know Satan has pulled out all the stops because he is afraid of who you are in Christ? He’s intimidated by the plans God has for you, the eternal purposes? His favorite tactic, discouragement, reeks havoc on our hearts. But please don’t give up.

 

woman, depression, face

Look at the definitions for “struggle”:

  1. a forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.
  2. a conflict or contest.
    “a power struggle for the leadership”
  3. a very difficult task. (Google definitions)

Get Mad

When I read the definitions I was amazed. All three describe spiritual warfare, don’t they?

I don’t allow myself to get mad, or at least I try not too. But I think this struggle is something we should get mad about. It’s good to be mad about being sad.

Get mad at depression. Get mad at the enemy and his schemes and slimy half-truths that send us into the dark shadows. Fight for your freedom! Our lack of joy holds us back. It restrains us. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 

Our lack of joy is a power struggle for leadership. The enemy wants to lead our future, our thoughts, our failure. Don’t let him! By the power of Jesus’s name we can win this power struggle. It won’t be easy. There may be days that are better than others, but Jesus has won the battle for us. Death has been defeated.

3 Things to Do to Get Your Joy Back

  1. Pull Weeds

I spent most of yesterday freeing my bushes in my back yard from vines that choke out the life of the plants. You can’t pull these vines from the bush until you cut them at the base of the root. Then the vine releases from the foliage, and the bush is free again.

I felt so much better!

Pulling weeds relieves stress, anger, and frustration. You can say “I hate you!” to a weed and not get in trouble.

I could feel some joy seeping through from my victory over the weeds.

Those evil vines are like the thoughts that take away my joy.

Negative thoughts are weeds that need to go. Thoughts of failure and discouragement need to be cut down to the root, but how do we keep them from coming back?

We stop their return with fertilizer. Weeds thrive in unhealthy soil, so the more fertilized the soil, the less likely the battle with these unwanted counterfeits. Our hearts and minds are our soil, and we’ve got to fertilize with the three W’s:

  • The Word (The Bite of Bread reading plan)
  • Worship (or as my sister, Venus, says, “WARship.”)
  • Waiting with Hope trusting God is doing a new thing.

2. Keep a gratitude journal

Our emotions are fickle. Don’t trust them.

Keep a gratitude journal and write down all the good God is doing. You may have to ask Him to show you the good. The other night I crawled into bed after a depressing day which involved a really bad review, a car accident and a dying friend. I thought I would write down all my woes, but I found myself writing about the good in each situation. By the time I closed my journal, my heavy heart had lost a few pounds.

 

3. Wrestle for the Blessing

Yep. Wrestle. If the peace doesn’t come, wrestle with God for it. I believe God likes wrestlers. He loved Jacob who wrestled with Him all night long. To me, wrestling is not the same as getting mad. Wrestling is determination to find the joy. It’s hand to hand, arm to arm, sweat to sweat, “God, I want your blessing, because only yours is good.”

What Does God Have For You in the Struggle?

I believe God always has something good for us in the struggle for joy. If we ask, He will lead us to the new path, the different way of thinking, and the root of the problem. But the key to this breakthrough is faith in God’s love for us. Janet Eckels wrote in her article about joy:

Happiness ends in time. Joy lasts as long as God’s love. He promised: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11). ( CBN.com)

If you find yourself wavering in your security of God’s love for you, you need to go to the mat. Wrestle. Cry out, “Help me believe you love me!”

And dig into His Life giving Word.

Bite of Bread

 

Sneak Peek and Free Printable for You (Take it with you!)

Palm 37:4: Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.

  • Think of the things that you “delight in”. List them one by one. How do they affect you? Do they make you smile, laugh. . . experience joy? As we begin to delight in the Lord, pray to fall in love with him more and more and keep a “delight in the Lord” journal this week. What things make you think of God and smile?

John 15:9: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

  • “Remain” also means to “dwell”. Can you dwell on the thoughts of God’s love for you today? List the ways you know He loves you starting with Jesus.

2 Cor. 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

  • What if God allows our joyless days so we can empathize with others and better minister to them? How can this change the way you get through those hard days?

2 Cor. 1:24: Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

  • This verse really makes me believe God does want us to know joy. According to it, what is the foundation for our joy? Write down three faith statements. How do these affect your struggle for joy?

2 Cor. 4:18:  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  • Write down what you see and what God promises for eternity with Him.

1 John 3:1: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

  • Often in my joyless days I feel small and invisible. What does this verse tell us?

Psalm 102: 11-13:  My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her the appointed time has come.

  • The Lord loves you. Cling close. Your appointed time is coming. In the mean time, warship.

Don’t forget your printable!

We Need God and Sisters

Keys to our breakthroughs for joy are:

  1. The desire not to be discouraged and joy-less.
  2. Trust in God’s goodness.
  3. Fellowship with other believers.

If we try to do things on our own, we will not only fail in the end, we will be miserable along the way. That we are dependent on God is not a burden, it’s not a crutch, it’s something to be celebrated. Accepting and celebrating our dependence on God and one another is the key to knowing peace in this chaotic world. Jacquelyn Lynn

Come Join Our Fellowship!

Every week day this week you can join us via Facebook LIVE for our Bite of Bread daily broadcast. Just follow me on Facebook and tune in around 8:20 AM ET. Join kindred spirits as we dig deep into the bite for the day to live fully. This week we will be digging for joy!

 

Digging Deep to Live Fully,

Andy

 

P.S. Uplifting articles by other authors:

How to Get Your Joy Back 

What Do You Do With The Lemons Life Gives You?

Joy in the Bible

I shared this post on Holley Gerth’s Coffee link-up. 

 

 

Beautiful, Psalm 119 devotions

P.S.S  If this post was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Andy Lee

2 thoughts on “The Struggle for Joy

  1. I love how you pointed out that God likes “wrestlers.” I absolutely agree! There are days we need to be determined and wrestle for the joy that is ours already; how we lose sight of this! Thank you for your encouraging post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *