DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
THE DEVIL WANTS OUR JOY
I was thinking about how we try to live in the natural realm and the spiritual realm at the same time and how difficult it is to live in victory. I am reminded of the story in the original animated holiday classic, “When the Grinch stole Christmas” and I admit that I had never seen the spiritual meaning before until recently. In my personal interpretation the community of whoville represents God’s saints that are peculiar to say the least but nevertheless enjoy the simple pleasures of spiritual peace and happiness. The Grinch represents Satan, who on the other hand is filled with envy and hatred and is determined to “steal” their spirit of hope and cheerfulness. The Grinch believes that if he can take away their material possessions, he can crush the essence of their joy and we all know the joy of the Lord is our spiritual strength. He does manage to steal all of their earthly goods and even the last bite of food but he is stunned to discover that when they realize they have been robbed they do not really care. The Who’s are not affected at all, in fact they begin to sing (worship) and smile and love each other just the same. We can see how powerful it is to not allow the pleasures of this world to make us who we are and allow our superficial feelings rule us. Instead of the Grinch thinking he defeated them he realized they were actually victorious over him and the counterfeit philosophy that believes all that glitters is gold. He failed because he could not steal their vision!
What does this have to do with worship? Well, how can we worship without joy? What the people in Whoville had was far deeper than just emotional happiness that depends on the circumstances of life; it was the faith in knowing who God is and who they are in God’s sight – and that can only be found in a personal relationship with the Lord. They did not put their “happy eggs” in a basket made of fine clothes, beautiful new cars, crystal cathedrals, delicious foods or a bank full of money. Their happiness was not built on the pleasures and luxuries of this world but the highest realm of genuine love. In everyday reality the situation is exactly the same because Satan thinks if he can steal our valuable possessions and destroy our health that we will be depressed and powerless (and many times we are). He works night and day trying to ruin everything he can for the purpose of making us weak and ineffective in the Kingdom of God. (We all know the story of Job as it gives us a clear picture of Satan’s strategy against all of God’s people.)
As God’s word say’s in Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is our strength” and as we study the true meaning of joy our spiritual eyes are opened to the revelation of how it is the center of our relationship with God. Joy is the “revelation” of who we are and the gateway to our worship. When we combine our understanding with a Godly attitude, it can very well be considered as the most powerful weapons in spiritual warfare. Not allowing the enemy to rob us of our spiritual stability and strength is why Christianity emphasizes the crucial importance of knowing how to study, worship and pray. So it only makes sense that learning how to handle situations and circumstances while keeping our human nature under control is the vital “lesson” we must exercise if we want to live in “full gospel” victory. Growing strong in the Lord is learning to realize that material things are just passing through our hands but our thoughts, motives and actions are eternal.
The normal advancement and progression of spiritual growth is to be developed like a child to an adult but unfortunately the majority only experience physical aging not spiritual. There is nothing more disappointing to God than seeing an older person in the flesh still nursing the bottle in the spirit. He cannot use undeveloped babies to fight wars because if their stability is based on this natural world they are vulnerable to giving up. If there is anything that can stop them – it will, because the most sensitive button they have will be pushed constantly until they get the victory over it. Learning the mystery about how to hold on to our joy in the midst of our trials could be the deciding factor between success and failure in our mission including consequences now and in the final judgment. We must guard our joy day and night and keep it secure AT ALL COST! The Bible speaks of being an overcomer in this life and how it is accomplished through the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony. This is a double attack that uses the power of the blood as a defense and protection while the positive confession of God’s word establishes who we are. As we speak God’s truth in faith we are tearing down the enemies strongholds and are advancing on offense. The sword is an offensive weapon to “engage” in the battle and to drive the enemy back to where it came from. How serious are you about protecting your joy?