Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV) declares, “… And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ, do not allow Satan to steal your joy, because he doesn’t deserve it. Let your joy be in the Lord as you will receive strength to face and overcome all trials and obstacles.
If you allow Satan to steal your joy, don’t think he will do something good for you because he won’t. He will take your joy and use it against you. Remember what the word says about Satan in 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV): “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
There is nothing to gain from “toying around” with Satan except heartaches, pain, grief, destruction and all that is negative. Know your adversary! If you don’t, he will snatch your joy from under you within a heartbeat. That “joy-stealing” rascal will take your pain and carry you on a roller coaster ride that you have never before experienced if you allow him to win.
There is one place from which Satan loves to try to steal joy, and that is the church. Those of you who are in the church, if you are not deeply rooted and grounded in the word, he will use you as a pawn to tear it up. I have experienced some very unpleasant situations in church that Satan “spearheaded” because they could not have been of God. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (I Corinthians 14:33 ESV).
Nothing can be more disturbing than to enjoy a spirit-filled sermon full of joy, then shortly afterwards, Satan finds a reason to stir up the congregation with foolishness. See, what he did was sat there through the entire service, plotting, planning and seeking whose spirit he could stir up for no good. The sermon made him mad because his toes got mashed! He didn’t like the solo that Sister Mary sang because the lyrics pointed out so man of his flaws. The children’s sermonette brought him back to his childhood that he wants to forget. A scripture that was read raised the hairs on his neck — Revelation 12:9 (ESV) “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world — he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
Therefore, when you allow Satan to use you for his bait, he has just stolen your joy! Remember that he doesn’t deserve your joy. Be watchful!
According to Ron Edmondson, a pastor and contributor for Outreach Magazine, there are seven ways that Satan tries to destroy the church. In other words, these are plots he uses to manipulate the spiritual mind and steal your joy.
Church conflict-Satan loves business meetings that get out of hand, or when two church members have disagreements outside of church. Show him a good argument potential and he’s willing to stir the fire.
Burnout-Satan loves to burn out a church volunteer, staff member or pastor. If he can make them feel they are no longer needed, their work is not appreciated or that they no longer have anything to offer … he feels he’s winning part of the battle.
Rumors-Satan is the stirrer of dissension. He likes to plant little seeds of a juicy story, about someone in the church or community … sometimes even the pastor or staff … and watch them quickly spread through a church congregation or community.
Busyness-Satan loves to distract church goers with a plethora of activity that produces little results in kingdom-building.
Lies-Satan attempts to interject what he calls a “half-truth;” just a hint of false doctrine and then watch it disrupt or divide a body. Of course, we all know that half-truth is really just a cleaned up version of a bold face lie, but Satan is clever enough to disguise a lie in a way where false teachers gain entry and do damage before being discovered.
Scandal-Satan loves a good, juicy, gossipy news headline in the local paper. If it will split, divide or destroy a church body, even better. If it will destroy someone’s Kingdom calling or work, he’ll take that too.
Marriage and Family Disruptions-Satan loves to destroy any relationship, but he also goes after key leader’s marriages, even the pastor’s marriage. He likes to encourage prodigal children. He wants to cause families to fight within the church and fight with the church. Satan knows if he can destroy a home, he has a better chance of destroying a church.
Saints, the church is under attack daily! However, in spite of Satan’s “joy-stealing” tactics, we can recover and move on in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to do His will. James 1:2-4 (ESV) promises, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Further, John 16:22 (ESV) declares, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
The Gospel songwriter and singer Rev. Shirley Caesar boldly and joyfully proclaims, “This joy I have, the world didn’t give it to me/The world didn’t give it to me/And the world can’t take it away.”
The next time you feel Satan’s on the prowl trying to steal your joy that he will never deserve, listen to her song for a “joy lifter” and a message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmCYo7tX0jY .
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)