So being such a widely spoken topic, I thought I would rather throw some challenges and curveballs at you.
1) When your friend ignored you, did you walk away in triumph?
2) When you failed that test, did you thank your teacher or lecturer?
3) When you gave that gift and didn’t receive a thank you, did you go buy another gift?
These are but a few of the questions I have asked myself lately, because if we reply with a ‘NO’ to any of the above, then it means we are letting circumstances, and not joy rule our thoughts and thus rule our lives.
So you have probably gone back to read the questions again to see what you shouldn’t have maybe said no to, here is my reasoning.
If we let our friends decide whether we are triumphant or not due to our interaction with them, ultimately we will be seeking their approval, seeking to make them happy. This should not be. We are called to place God at the center, so that even when our friends ignore us, we walk away triumphant knowing that the devil cannot get us down through our friends. We can walk away, knowing that we now have an opportunity to love the one who ignored us even more, and because they don’t deserve even more love, we can thus glorify God in the process by giving them more love!
When we fail, do we see it as a faith builder, energising us for the next test? Strengthening our faith, our belief that God has promised us success? Do we thank our teachers for showing us we are human, yet have a glorious God who helps us succeed, getting the marks which clearly weren’t possible without Him when we do get the marks we desire? Do we glorify Him, and thank Him for the opportunity to glorify Him when our marks improve, or do we walk around like a failure, expecting the next test to also be a fail. If the devil can steal our joy through our failures, then we do not have joy, but a pleasure of being a success.
When we make the sacrifice, spend the money on someone who cannot return the favour, do we demand a thank you at least? When the thank you doesn’t come, and the gift is shortly forgotten of, do we say “I tried, that is all I can do.” Do we let the devil stop us in our tracks by taking away the joy we have in giving as Christ gave? If the devil can stop us, then it is not the joy of giving that we had, but rather the joy of being noticed for our efforts. When our efforts of finding the gift is not appreciated, are we still willing to give even more to that same person? I ask, because having joy means just being able to give is enough for us.
You see, true joy comes from love. A love for our friends, even when they don’t deserve it. A love for our teachers and lecturers, even when we think their aim is to get us to fail. A love for others, even when we get nothing in return. It is because of this love that we can be joyful and rejoice (1 Corinthians 13:6).
Going forward, what do you need to be aware of? Firstly the devil is going to try steal your joy immediately, but be encouraged by John 16:22, “no one will take away your joy.” Proclaim this and watch as the devil retreats knowing he cannot steal your joy. Also, what I found, was as I began proclaiming this, the devil started attacking my health, and I have seen it in others around me too. When the devil can’t get our spirit down because we are full of joy, he will try get us down physically so that others can’t see our joy, so that God can not be glorified to the full extent that He deserves. So in a practical sense, be healthy!
Christ loves us, and Christ is love. When we accept Him into our hearts, not only do we accept His love for us, but also the joy that he has lined up for us (John 15:11). The devil cannot make Him leave, nor can the devil steal our joy (John 16:22). The only way the devil can take our joy is if we give him our joy. You wouldn’t give your place in heaven to go to hell just because the devil says you should, neither should you let the devil trick you into giving him your joy.
Finally, no matter what happens, be joyful, and “Know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
By the way, if you are still wondering where this whole power of fruit thing came from, then you probably missed the first part in the series, which you can find by clicking here or below 🙂