Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What is Stealing Your Joy? Part 1 of 2

Thanks for checking out Delightful Details! I'm so blessed you've stopped by today. I don't have anything "crafty" to post but I did have some thoughts I'd like to share.

We are fast approaching the holiday season and I thought this would be the perfect time to share some thoughts about "joy." This may seem like a strange way to approach this but often we are so overwhelmed during this time of the year I think it's important to safeguard ourselves so that we can truly have a time of en-joy-ment.

Did you know that "joy is often equated with happiness, but the two are quite distinct? Happiness depends largely upon happenings: good health, congenial company, pleasant surroundings, etc. Happiness and unhappiness do not exist together; but joy and sorrow can and do. Our Lord was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3) but "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2)" (excerpt from Vine's Expository Dictionary)

After reading the Vine's definition, I could not help but think about the happenings because so often it's the "happenings" around the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) that can contribute to us losing our joy... if we let it! So let's look at two of the three things that can strangle the joy right out of us if we aren't careful.

#1 jealousy/envy

Where does jealousy/envy come from?

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic, For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:14-16 (NKJV)

My eyes were really opened when I read Proverbs 14:30. Jealousy can rob us of our very health and well being. " A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones." What is happening on the inside of us can rob our joy and our health! There is an old Swedish proverb that says "Envy shoots at others and wounds itself." How true...

#2 Anger
Of course the definition for this is usually pretty straightforward but sometimes it can be driven by grief and when unchecked can lead to depression. This can be a real joy stealer during the holidays! So, let's guard our hearts and mind with God's Word!
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ... 2 Cor 10:4-5

Psalm 37:8 says "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it only causes harm. You may find the following kind of interesting, I sure did. The word anger in the Hebrew means : breathing hard, enraged, nostrils flare and the blowing of breath through the nostrils. What is it that really pushes your buttons that causes your nostrils to flare?? Notice in that one verse the word "cease" that means "stop it!" And then he writes "forsake" wrath: that means to leave it behind, don't bottle it up and save it! And then it says "do not fret" Fret in this context means "to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled" it doesn't mean worry. We can let our joy slip away, if we get angry, flare our nostrils, bottle up our wrath and kindle our fret, especially if we combust!! Of course if we explode we are going to have a real mess on our hands in more ways than one! I read this once "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret."

I'm going to leave you with a thought to "chew on" and we will continue with Part 2 in a few days. Here it is are you ready??? People are not responsible for our lack of joy as a matter of fact, nothing outwardly can take away our right to have the joy of the Lord! Ponder on that statement and keep your eyes on Jesus! Remember that the joy of the Lord is our strength!

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