LET NO MAN STEAL your joy. How many times have we heard this? Actually, I think this is a misnomer. To steal implies to me that someone comes in sneakily and takes from you without your knowledge. The devil is sneaky. However, no man and no devil can take from you the gift of God that possesses you and that you truly possess. The Bible says the kingdom of God is within you, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Rom 14:17-18)
Nehemiah said, “the joy of the Lord is my strength!” Nazi concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl said this,
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
People can take away your stuff and they can strip you of all dignity. They can slander your good name and whisper lies into the ears of people with itchy ears. The enemy can wear you down like an old pair of running shoes; but no one, not even the devil can steal your joy unless you give it away. Joy is an eternal gift of God that will sustain us on this earth journey and then we will experience it forever in His kingdom.
The second fruit of the Spirit is joy, ‘sim•cha.’
Simcha, Joy, is one of the most prevalent words in the Bible. Together with its synonym, sa•son, it appears in scriptures over 400 times. In fact, the English word ‘sassy’ came from sa•son. Both words together form a beautiful expression that is said in every Jewish wedding. This expression, coined by the prophet, Jeremiah, says: ‘kol sa•son ve•kol sim•cha, kol cha•tan ve•kol ka•la’.
“the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His mercy endures forever”— and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the Lord.”
Jeremiah 33:11 NKJV
The joy we feel is more than just a spontaneous subjective emotion. It is rooted very concretely in all “that the LORD has done”. Has God not been good to you? Has He not saved you and delivered you from your sins? Has He not cleansed you and set you upon a rock so that you should not be moved? And has He not given you the Holy Spirit to live inside of you, to lead you, guide you, teach you, and comfort you? “All that the Lord has done” is the source of my joy!
You can choose to walk in joy or you can give it away and walk in your negativity and sourness. You can choose to rejoice in the Lord “and again I say Rejoice!” Or you can choose to become more bitter, more hardened and more of a complainer. You can choose joy and the fear of the Lord or cowardice and the fear of the world. Joy is a beautiful gift of God found in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now, maybe you have no joy because you have quenched the Spirit living within you. Continue a life of sin and you will not have joy. Ask yourself those hard questions and examine your heart. Are you allowing circumstances to dictate your attitude?
Choose your words wisely. Grumbling and complaining only brings forth the fruit of bitterness. Get into His presence and renew your mind to the word of God. Receive His joy and be at peace. Choose today to operate in joy. The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad!
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11
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