Knowing The Obstacles To Joy Can Help Us Deal With Them
Every Christian has at some point experienced what the King James Version of 1 Peter 1:8 describes as “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” If you have experienced that joy you know just what I’m talking about. We all wish we could have it every moment of every day!
Of course, we can potentially have joy every moment of every day. The Scriptures don’t teach this but my experience is that there are different degrees of joy. Most of the time when I am in fellowship with the Lord I have what a pastor friend of mine describes as a deep inner rejoicing. It’s not a bubbly or ecstatic joy but a general feeling of happiness. Then there are intermittent times when the joy is much greater and seems to overflow from our hearts.
For now let’s think about the deep inner rejoicing that I believe is accessible to all Christians all the time. My question to you is,
“Do you have that joy right now as you read this?”
If so, then give thanks to the Lord! If not, the next question is,
Obstacles To Joy
The joy we’re talking about is from the Spirit as part of the fruit that He produces in our lives Galatians 5:22-23. There are three types of obstacles to joy that interfere with the joy from the Spirit.
- The obstacles of sin. These are the most obvious obstacles or at least should be. The Bible describes sin as quenching the Spirit 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and grieving the Spirit Ephesians 4:30. Sin is a barrier we erect that blocks the Spirit from working in our hearts.
- The obstacles of trials. These are a bit more difficult to understand. None of us instinctively like trials. The natural response to any trial is to be grieved 1 Peter 1:6. When you get sick or your car breaks down or you lose your job it’s a trial. When you get bad news or someone treats you unfairly it’s a trial. Life is full of trials. Trials can steal our joy but they don’t have to.
- The obstacles of spiritual attacks. The flesh, the world and Satan with his followers attack us with evil desires that invade our hearts. When this happens we don’t feel joy. It might still be there but it’s overwhelmed by the attacking evil impulses.
Let’s get back to the question,
“If you don’t have joy right now, why not?”
The answer is one of these three obstacles above. Can you identify the reason you don’t have joy right now? We have to start with that and then we can deal with it. In the next posts we’ll see from the Scriptures what our responses need to be.
Joy is important. Right now I pray for you as Paul prayed for the church at Rome.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
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