I woke up this morning with my spirit man screaming inside of me. It was a weird feeling. I was not dreaming. It was not some figment of my imagination. It was happening. I could feel something taking place inside of me in this early hour of the morning. And I could hear the words my spirit man was declaring. This has never happened to me before. And to be honest it was strange. Before you think that my meal affected my sleep that is not true. But, as I awoke, my spirit man already alive, I could hear in my ear these words, “devil you cannot steal my joy!”.
You know as well as I do that the enemy wants to do just that to every one of us. Driving in my automobile recently and listening to a station that plays Christian music, I do not know who the artist was but they were singing a song that was totally unscriptural. There was a great beat. But, their theology was completely wrong. They were declaring in song how God saved them to make them happy. And the thought crossing my mind was, “I must not be saved because I am not always happy”. If I believed what the artist was declaring through their music I would come to that conclusion. I wanted to reach through the radio in my car, take the artist by the shoulders, look them in their eye and ask, “Where in heaven’s name did you get that message you are singing about. God did not save you to make you happy. He saved you to fill you with joy!”
There are a number of people in the body of Christ which actually believe that happiness and joy are the same. They are not. One has to do with circumsatances. The other is a fruit. I will be honest with you. I am not always happy, even as a believer. Pressures come. Things happen. Bills remain unpaid. The kids are sick. The car won’t start. The prognosis from the doctor is not good. People lie about you. The job ends. Relationships dissolve. Divorce happens. And the list goes on. Just this list takes away my happiness on any given day.And most likely it does yours as well.
I love grapes. Especially those real sweet ones. If my wife buys them and places them in the refrigator they do not last long around our house. I am always sneaking into the kitchen to grab a hand full from time to time. Just recently I pulled a cluster out of the bowl and they looked so beautiful all hanging together. My mind thought immediately of a cluster of fruit the Holy Spirit has filled believers with. The apostle Paul did not use a plural word when he wrote to the believers in the city of Galatia. He used the singular word. They are one cluster operating in various forms. Nevertheless they are fruit. (Galatians 5:22) And found in that wonderful cluster is a fruit called “joy”. God Himself must think that fruit found in the lives of His children must be important because 24 of the 27 books in the New Testament talk about fruit in the life of a child of God.
In the Old Testament you find the story of a man, after seeing broken down walls and burned out gates of a city which he greatly loved. The story of a man who had enemies which were doing their best to stop his progress. The story of a man who was determined to fight through every obstacle which was coming his way. The story of a man on a mission. The story of a man whose focus was so set. Nehemiah could declare out loud in the face of his obstacles which he was having to cross seemingly on a daily baisis as well as the people around him, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength”. Not happiness. Joy!I wonder if Nehemiah did not awake from his sleep feeling and hearing the same words which I was hearing inside my spirit today. I wonder if he did not shout out loud, “devil you can’t steal my joy”. You see, it is a matter of focus.
The apostle Paul gave the church at Philippi a command. A word to be obeyed. He told the church twice the same thing just in case they did not hear him the first time. He said, “Rejoice Lord always, and again Isay rejoice” (Philippians 4:4 KJV) It’s all about focus. You may be facing tremendous pressures in your life at this very moment. There may be things transpiring all around you that you wonder how much more can you handle. Rejoice! Rejoice so loud you send a shudder through the corridor of hell. You are an overcomer. You are a victor. You are filled with the fruit of the Spirit. You are triumphant. And you can, like me, become so focused that you find yourself declaring in the face of what is taking place in your life right now, “devil you cannot steal my joy!!!!!!!”