Joy is a gift from God, but we have a part to play. Once the enemy has stolen our joy, how do we recover? It seems like it would be difficult, but it’s really not that hard. God has given us the tools we need and our victory is assured.
Have you ever looked around you at all the seemingly joyful people and wondered where they got their joy? Or how they maintained it?
What is joy?
Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances. Joy is an inner contentedness despite our circumstances.
Does this describe you? Or perhaps it describes a state you’re longing for. If that’s the case, there’s hope!
I don’t personally agree with the “choose joy” theory.
I don’t think it’s that simple because I was trying. I was. And, I know that a lot of you would say that you would choose joy if it was that simple.
I do, however, think that what we have to recognize is that joy is a gift from God.
It says in John 15, “if you keep My commandments, if you remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love, I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this. Love each other as I have loved you.”
I started thinking about that and I thought, “So what does it take to have joy?” Because I was depressed and all I wanted was joy. Yet it’s the enemy’s desire to steal our joy and he will.
Gift of Joy
So, Romans 15:13 conveys that joy is a gift. It says, “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
So, there’s something we have to do first. We have to first trust and then God fills us with His joy. It’s a gift from Him to have joy. But we have to trust. That’s what I learned as I was laying in a bed so sick and so depressed.
I had to decide that despite my circumstances, (we’ve talked before about happiness coming in our circumstances). Despite my circumstances, I had to trust God. As I began trusting Him, the joy started coming back.
So, what do we do when we lose our joy? What do we do when we fall into this trap of depression? And, more importantly, what do we do when we start recognizing that we believe some of the lies of the enemy?
Because we’re going to talk about what we do when he steals our joy, and what do we do when we lose our peace, and what we do when he starts tampering with our identity. It all falls back to the lies that we start believing.
We have a part to play. I have told you before that I want to give you the tools because once we know who and what we’re dealing with, we’ve got the ammunition. Victory is already assured.
So, the Bible says we have to recover ourselves. When I hear that, I think that’s a weighty responsibility. So let’s break it down because it’s really not that hard.
4 Steps Toward Recovering Our Joy
1. Recognize we’ve listened to a lie.
The first thing we have to do is: to recognize that, I’ve been listening to a lie. For example, I believed a lie that I was joy immune. So, we recognize that we cooperated with the enemy by listening to him and agreeing with his lie.
2. Repent for agreeing with and believing a lie.
So, after we recognize we’ve listened to a lie, then we repent. For example, “Father, I believed a lie. I believed the lie instead of believing Your truth.”
3. Renounce and reject the lie.
Then we renounce and reject the lie. We declare, “God, I’m not listening to that enemy anymore. I’m going to believe Your truth.”
4. Receive from God.
Then we receive, instead, God’s love and His forgiveness and His peace and His joy. It’s as simple as that. Let’s not make it so complicated.
So, to review, we recognize that we cooperated with the enemy and we believed his lie. We repent to God for believing the enemy’s lies. Then, we renounce and we reject. “We’re not believing that anymore. Satan get behind me.” Then, we receive God’s forgiveness and His love and His peace and His joy.
The enemy wants to make it so, so complicated. It’s not. It’s not. What’s complicated is that he’s so subtle. But, as we start recognizing it, and you will, every time you realize that, you think, “No! I’m not falling for that anymore. Shut up, enemy!” Can I tell you how many times a day I say to the enemy, “Shut up! I’m not listening to that anymore. I’m not believing that anymore.”
Victory is already ours. God gives us the tools. It’s just up to us to do the work.
Are you willing to do the work to get well and be well? I can promise you, it’s worth it!
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
Hope Prevails Book and Hope Prevails Bible Study offer hope for overcoming depression.
Available now through book retailers!
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the new companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand: how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
“It’s very likely that you or a loved one has experienced the effects of depression: profound sadness, lack of energy, loss of joy. You may have found yourself wishing for the honest counsel of a wise woman or a close friend, even a special therapist. Someone who would understand what you are going through without you having to find the words. Someone who has a special kind of wisdom and guidance to share. Through Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson relates to the reader as a caring friend while providing professional insights formed by years of education, training, and experience as a neuropsychologist. In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson attends to the spiritual aspects of healing from depression and interprets frequently used depression treatment techniques within the context of a close relationship with God. Dr. Bengtson sprinkles personal knowing alongside professional knowledge to deliver sound teachings and recommendations from the perspective of a “helper” who has had her own battles against depression, has grabbed hold of God’s promises and realized joy in Him. She delivers inspired love and understanding of her own and through that shows God’s love for those who are in despair. She is that friend, maybe not one you know personally, but one whose words can comfort and guide you just as powerfully toward a fulfilled relationship with God, the Healer.” ~ Laura Patke, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist
This is right where I am now. I have searched and read and done just about everything to find that inner joy- to no avail. In August, I realized that I had to go back to the bible. That’s where my grandmother always went for everything. So I’m reading the bible daily, again, and all the way through, again. I’m even considering some bible journaling. Now, the trust part, that’s going to be interesting. 🙂 Thanks for this post!
Wow sister this is so true; I didn’t really think of that, but joy is a gift, and I think I so often focus on the wrong things (not Philippians 4:8 thoughts) and the joy drains, because I’m not abiding in the vine, abiding in the truth of Jesus Christ that has set me free! Thank you sister! <3
Visiting you from Strangers & Piligrims, and am thankful to read how your difficult journey led you to learn that joy comes to us from the Lord, and is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather on our faith. It makes a wonderful difference in our lives when we can understand that! Happy to have met you today 🙂
Joy really is a gift. I have to chuckle when people comment, “How do you do it” when I maintain my joy during difficult circumstances. My reply? “I’m not, my joy is a gift!”
I can’t tell you how many times the enemy has tried to steal my joy … but I can tell you that what the enemy has meant to be a joy stealer, God has instead made those things joy bringers! Love this post, dear Michelle. I don’t know if you ever listen to my podcast, “Finding Joy,” but I think you’d like it! <3 Happy to be your neighbor at the #RaRaLinkup today.
Awesome message dear Michelle!! Thank you for sharing what the Lord showed you about the JOY He gives. Yes, satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly. His gift for my trust is JOY, PEACE and all the fruit of the Spirit. Thank you for these tools to work with so that I can walk in the JOY of the Lord and it is my strength.
Michelle, thank you for this excellent post. My word for 2021 is “JOY”, I am learning much the same things as you share here. I am also not a fan of “choose joy”, as it portrays joy as something as easy to “choose” as picking an outfit out the closet. We do not simply “choose joy”, it is a fruit of the Spirit of God given to us by Him. I appreciated your wise words!