Things That Rob Us Of Joy
Written by Jay Yeager
Thursday, 12 February 2009 03:06

Things that rob us of joy

All who know the Bible acknowledge that there is a joy connected to Christianity. In each of the following verses the underlying message is the joy that accompanies Christianity:

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

Rejoice in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).

But rejoice inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s suffering; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:13).

Rejoice evermore” (I Thessalonians 5:16).

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (I John 1:4).

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

There is no one on earth who has more right or reason to be happy than those who are the children of God (I John 3:1-3). But maybe, just maybe, you are not feeling that joy and you are wondering, “Is something is wrong?”

Perhaps, you even question if there is a God? Is heaven and hell real? Now, if that hit you in the nose don’t think that you need to crawl off somewhere and hide under a rock. Those thoughts have entered the minds of many of us. Yet, we are here!

Do you know why? Because we know that all of this did not just happen. After all the scientific minds that advocate evolution have written their thousands of books, each trying to convince us that 5 million or 150 million of years ago (depending on who you read – and if you point out the discrepancy between 5 and 150 million years, they say that’s just semantics) by odds so great that they do not even try to offer them, that life came from non-life – their credibility hits rock bottom.

Then we turn to the only logical explanation there is “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). And we know that the Bible is the inspired word of God! Just one illustration is all that is needed, and here is why. There is absolutely no other way that a Sheppard boy who became a king, could write about the death of Christ a thousand years before the event, before crucifixion was ever practiced as a means of capital punishment:

  1. They pierced my hands and feet (Psalms 22:16)

  2. Bones unbroken (Psalms 34:20)

  3. Gall and vinegar to his lips (Psalms 69:21)

  4. He would cry unto God (Psalms 22:1)

  5. Garments gambled for (Psalms 22:18).

  6. Friends to stand afar off (Psalms 38:11)

  7. Betrayed by a friend (Psalms 41:9)

  8. Commended his spirit unto God (Psalms 31:5)

  9. Soul not left in Hades (Psalms 16:10)

Those are only a few of the hundreds of prophesies concerning Christ, and those few from only one sacred book, and we know - we know that God is, and we know that heaven is real, and that hell is real, and we know that the Bible is the inspired word of God! And because we know that, we are here to worship the Almighty!

Yet, even knowing that, some still lack that joy which should fill the life of a Christian. Beloved, lets get to the heart of the issue. Maybe we want the joy of Christianity - but at our price:

  1. We want God to be first in our lives as long as he does not get in the way of other things we want to do.

  2. We want to be committed to the cause of Christ, but committed by our definition.

  3. We want to be faithful but at our level.

And we wonder why we do not feel the joy that should be a part of every Christian’s life? We just do not want to let go.

I will decide – not God

Where I should go: Years ago we were close friends with a family that had a young teenager going through some growing pains, and he decided to go into the local bar to play pool. When his mother found out, she of course, had a fit, and confronted him about his actions. She told him that the influence of such an establishment was unhealthy for him morally, and harmed his influence upon others.

He answered, “But you go there for sandwiches”. And she did! Her only defense was, “but at least I don’t hang out there”. Beloved, I am not saying that you cannot go anywhere that sells alcohol, if that were the case, almost every grocery store would be out of bounds, as well as many restaurants and gas stations. However, alcohol is not the main business of those establishments!

If we chose to frequent places that pedal alcohol to attract a clientele, then the type of people that congregates there will be far from spiritually minded folks. The mother of this young teenage boy was sending a message that going into a bar was alright. Now, I know that was not her intent, she viewed her visits as innocent. Just a sandwich! But her example allowed her teenage son to argue, “Just a game of pool”. What does the Bible say? “Abstain from the appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22).

What I will drink: It seems that every congregation has those who seek to justify social drinking. “What’s the harm in a few drinks?” The Bible answers those who argue in favor of alcoholic beverages in no uncertain terms: Those who drink alcohol are not very bright (Proverbs 20:1), they are numb from the effect of alcohol (Proverbs 23:29-35), and they are lost spiritually (Galatians 5:21). Do you consider that harmful?

What I should wear: Every Christian knows that the Bible teaches us to dress modestly (I Timothy 2:9), and many want elders and preachers to define modesty. How long should a dress be? To the ankle? Middle of the lower leg? Below the knee? The middle of the knee? Can Christians wear shorts? If, so, how short is too short? On and on goes the questions, “Tell me, what is modest?”

Beloved, we should be smart enough to know when our dress is enticing. Am I dressed in such a way as to draw attention to my body? Folks, I will take it a step further, we do know when we have crossed the line, and some have. The shame comes when someone has to tell us that is not appropriate.

How I will talk: The scriptures certainly give us “the don’t” as far as language is concerned.

  1. Don’t be a gossip (Proverbs 18:8). If you have the 411 on someone, it doesn’t mean you have to be the phone operator!

  2. Don’t be a backbiter (Galatians 5:15). Bite, devour and consume are hardly the actions of a Christian.

  3. Don’t be vulgar (Ephesians 4:29). Cursing from a child of God will raise even the world’s eyebrow.

James wrote that the tongue can no man tame, but it can be controlled with effort, so that blessing and cursing does not proceed out of the same mouth (James 3:1-12).

I will be committed – one day soon

  1. Committed to Bible study (II Timothy 2:15)

    1. Now, what was that truth again (Hebrews 5:12-14)?

  2. Committed to the work (Matthew 25:14-30)

    1. The earth will help keep my talent fresh until then.

  3. Committed to faithful service (Matthew 25:1-13)

    1. I have always been a procrastinator!

One day soon really means tomorrow - and tomorrow comes and goes with good intentions, but good intensions never translate into action! Beloved, deep down we know that cannot be and we are just miserable because of it.

I want to be honest with you. You will never know the joy of Christianity until you surrender. You must die to live. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:26). There is another passage that in a marvelous way reveals the meaning of Matthew 16:26. Listen to the apostle Paul. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Brethren, do you see it?

  1. In surrender we are victorious.

  2. When we bow before him in submission, we are exalted.

  3. When we give, we receive.

Yet, frequently I talk to Christians who say I do not feel close to God. It is not because God is hard to find (Jeremiah 23:23-24; Acts 17:27). Let me ask you, do you spend time with the word? If the answer to that is “no” – can you seriously expect to feel close to God? A major portion of our relationship toward God must come from learning God’s word, it is the voice of God recorded by inspired hands (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21).

We know that to be true. Yet, for far too many of us the T.V. guide is in our hands more frequently than the Bible!

  1. We can tell you the time and channel for our favorite programs, but not where to find the plan of salvation.

  2. Hundreds of different channels on the tip of our tongue, but not where you can find the acts of Christian worship.

  3. We can handle the most complicated remotes with the greatest of ease, but do not ask where the book of Micah is found.

How can one rejoice over being a Christian, being in right relationship with God, if we do not strengthen our relationship by allowing God to speak to us?

How to be joyous? The cure is not complicated, but it does require effort.

  1. Live for him and not for yourself (Galatians 2:20)

  2. Quit being lukewarm – rather be zealous (Revelation 3:15-16)

  3. Study the book regularly (II Timothy 2:15)

  4. Pray frequently (I Thessalonians 5:17)

  5. Be thankful because of who you are, what you are, and where you are going (Colossians 3:15).

  6. Never, never, quit (Hebrews 3:14)!!!!