Unforgiveness. Eph. 4:32 says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Forgiveness sets us free--free to work in God's army, to be powerful in the joy of the Lord. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, steals our joy.
It also disqualifies us from receiving forgiveness ourselves. Jesus said, "'If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins'" (Matt. 6:14-15). God will forgive us as we forgive others, but if we refuse to forgive, then God withholds His forgiveness.
Eph. 4:31 tells us to "get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." Once we do that, we are supposed to move on toward forgiveness.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Don't give up your power to the enemy.
Fear. Sometimes we hang on to joybusters for protection, not fully trusting God to take care of us. Lack of trust is actually fear--a huge joybuster.
The Word says in 2 Timothy 1:7, "God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (KJV). The only fear we are to have is fear of the Lord, which is awesome reverence for Him, His majesty, His magnificence, His omnipotence, His power of creation, His power for salvation, His power for victory over the enemy. But we are not to be afraid of anything.
Fear causes us to be timid and lose the power and the sound mind that God has given to us. 1 John 4:18 tells us that "there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love" (NIV).
No one is greater than God, and nothing is more powerful than His love. If you are afraid--afraid you're not going to get that promotion, afraid someone is not going to like you, afraid of death, afraid for your children--remember, perfect love casts out all fear. God knows all, sees all, can do all and can heal all. There is no fear in love.
Offense. We will find opportunities to be offended everywhere we go. But if we choose to be offended, then we allow Satan to take away all the joy that is our strength.
Ps. 119:165 says, "Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble." To stumble means to be offended.
We don't want to stumble over anything. We want to be as sure-footed as the deer, to have hinds' feet in high places. We want to ascend to the heights with God. If you're offended, if you are stumbling, then you cannot climb, sure-footed, to the heights.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus told his disciples, "[Some people] hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away " (Mark 4:16-17). In other words, they stumble.
Jesus tells us that in this world we will have trouble and persecution. He essentially says, "Trust Me, you're going to have tribulation and persecution. You're going to have trouble. Don't be offended. Don't fall away because of it." We want to be like the seed sown on good soil--those that hear the word, accept it and produce a crop yielding 30, 60 or even 100 times what was sown. We cannot waste our time and energy on offenses.
Disobedience. Sometimes we know what God wants us to do, but we just don't do it. Then we wonder why we lose our joy. We must acknowledge that disobedience is a major joybuster.
Remember when Jonah disobeyed God? God told Jonah to go to Nineveh because He had a message for the people there, but Jonah boarded a boat heading in the opposite direction. He endangered the lives of many because of his disobedience.
There is a ripple effect to sin. We don't want to hurt people through our disobedience, but we do hurt them when we allow Satan to steal our joy.
Jonah experienced no joy in his disobedience. He was hiding out, living in fear. When you're joyful you want to celebrate: You're powerful, productive and strong.
Jesus Christ came that you might have life and have it abundantly. But the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Don't let him get your joy. If you have never turned over these joybusters--resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, fear, offense and disobedience--to God, now is the time! Repent and be healed.
Marianne Clyde is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Virginia.
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