Beware of doubt and fear, the joy-crushing

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)

In my message last week, the topic of discussion was “Lord, Please Help My Unbelief.” What led me to write that message was a sermon that I heard the previous Sunday by the Reverend James Braswell II, senior pastor of New Life Ministries in Valdosta, Ga. Further, I was led by my own unbelief in a particular situation. Therefore, this week I will expound on it a little more, indicating how we can get so wrapped up in doubt and fear that it can crush the joy that God wants us to have.

A thief has three purposes: to steal, kill and destroy as noted in John 10:10. A thief is an adversary, so we must stay on guard for him and recognize his tactics. An adversary doesn’t want you to win. He doesn’t want you to succeed. Further, an adversary will do everything in his “limited” power to crush your joy because all he wants to do is to see you suffer. Therefore, beware of doubt and fear; otherwise, they will crush your joy beyond repair!

When these two thieves make their grand entrance, they don’t announce themselves. They come in stealthily, and before you know it, they are just tapping all into your joy. You can be on the path to receiving that blessing that God has promised, and then doubt will show up and make you feel as if all your praying, believing, and trusting was for naught.

Then fear will slide right on in and whisper to you, “It’s not going to happen the way that you think. Stop wasting your time because you are not going to get what you want from God. You have been betrayed.”

Let’s stop right there and get something straight again. Doubt and fear are thieves. A thief is an adversary. A thief is of Satan. Therefore, know and believe that the adversary is a liar and the truth is not and cannot ever be in him! You must face these two thieves and say, “…Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23 ESV).

These joy-crushing thieves will show up at your lowest and highest points. Your soon-to-arrive blessing is not what they want to see in your life. They want you to doubt God’s promises and fall into fear at a point of no return.

However, God is able to handle doubt and fear. These thieves are no match for God. Keep in mind, though, that these two thieves can do only what you allow. I Peter 5:8 (ESV) boldly warns, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Therefore, don’t allow Satan to steal your God-given joy!

The next time that these two joy-crushing thieves, doubt and fear, appear at your door, meditate on this timely advice from Evangelist Joyce Meyer, “Good Medicine for Your Heart.”

“The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 that a happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing… Interestingly, there have been studies done that show laughter has some exciting benefits:

“Laughter causes the release of endorphins, a chemical in the body that relieves pain and creates a sense of well-being.

“It can raise your energy level, relieve tension and change your attitude.

“It increases antibodies and strengthens your immune system.

“A good belly laugh causes you to inhale more oxygen and stimulates your heart and blood circulation. It’s like internal aerobic exercise!

“No wonder the devil wants to steal our joy and get us discouraged, depressed and downtrodden. Remember that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But we don’t have to give in to him and lose our joy.”

Have a wonderfully blessed week, stay safe, get involved in righting the wrongs of social injustice, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a retired educator and minister in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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