John 10:10 (NIV) says, 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
What is it that the enemy of our soul is trying to steal from us? One of the things I have discovered that he wants to rob us of is our joy. Whatever the dark one can do to discourage, destroy and pillage from our lives, he will most certainly do it.
Whenever we are isolated from walking in community, we risk having our joy drained away by this lion that is prowling around. There are times when the circumstances of our lives feel like a ton of bricks collapsing all around us, and courage is hard to find. Have you ever felt defeated and you can’t shake the feeling of not measuring up – it begins to define who you are. Before long, your joy has vanished and the life to the fullest that Jesus came to bring us seems like a cruel joke.
If you are experiencing these feelings – you aren’t alone. Some of the greatest men and women of all time have struggled in the same way. Let’s just mention a few from the Bible…
Moses: “This job is too much for me…. If this is the way you’re going to treat me, just kill me now and end my miserable life.” Numbers 11:14-15
Elijah: “Elijah was afraid when he got her message… he walked a whole day into the desert… He begged the Lord, ‘I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off then my ancestors.’” 1 Kings 19:3-4
Job: “why didn’t I die at birth” Job 3:11
Jeremiah: “Put a curse on the day I was born! Don’t bless my mother.”
Jonah: “Now let me die! I’d be better off dead.” Jonah 4:3
All five of these men ultimately chose not to abandon their faith in God, though they had lost their joy, their hope and reason to live. They were all honest about how they were feeling and expressed themselves. These are great men of faith, who in the process of walking their faith out, felt lost, alone and were discouraged. They realized that God’s plan was still intact, though they couldn’t see it. God visited each of these five men and allowed them to see His faithfulness even though they went through great hardship.
If this has been a particularly difficult season, realize that God’s plan for your life still remains. He is asking you to obey your way into his destiny for your life (into the dreams that God has for you). As you take each step of obedience into your future, your joy will begin to be restored. This is part of what Jesus is pointing to in John 15…
John 15:9-11 (NIV)
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Jesus has instructed us that the demonstration of our love for him is found in our obedience. Every time we obey, joy is released into our lives. Nehemiah tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength… therefore, obedience brings the joy back to us which in turn strengthens us.
Jesus is our high priest, who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:15). He was a man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief (Is. 53:3). Jesus is near; to walk with you and point you toward others who will be the fellowship you can journey with.
May our heavenly Father encourage you and remind you of your true identity as His beloved child today.
May the Lord Jesus strengthen your weary legs for the journey as you wait upon Him for strength.
May the Holy Spirit lead you to the right travelling companions who will share the road to encourage you in the days ahead.