“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 KJV (emphasis added)
The world is full of “things.” People work hard for them, go to great lengths to protect them, and will sometimes do anything to get them. Having “things: makes people feel good and they can give a feeling of accomplishment and prestige. When the devil comes against you, he’s not after your “stuff.” Think about it, why would he be? He’s a spirit being so he doesn’t need to take tangible things from you. Rather, he’s interested in taking something much more powerful—your joy and your strength. The devil will throw attacks at you that will make you doubt if God is really on your side and protecting you.
Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English language defines strength as “firmness”; “power or vigor of any kind”; “power of resisting attacks”; “support”; and “power of mind.” In the same way, joy is defined as “the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good” and “happiness.” As can be seen, joy and strength aren’t just physical qualities, but it has a lot to do with how you operate spiritually. Any attack from the devil is spiritual warfare (see Ephesians 6:12). Here’s what happens when you allow the devil to steal your joy and strength.
- You become physically tired and when that happens you won’t want to pray, read your Bible, study, or go to church.
- You become spiritually, mentally, and emotionally drained which lowers your spiritual defenses.
- When your defenses are lowered, you fall into bitterness, resentment, anger, frustration, and ultimately, unforgiveness.
- The probability of becoming anxious and depressed are doubled, if not tripled.
- The goal of all this is the devil wants you to fall into doubt and unbelief which makes you faithless. When you become faithless, you are out of God’s will and He cannot work for you (see Hebrews 11:6)
- When your joy is gone, all you see is the negative in everything. This makes hard to keep your eyes on God’s Word and the positive things that He may be doing for you.
Can you see why the devil wants your joy and strength over your “stuff”? He can do more damage to you spiritually by stealing those two than by taking your physical possessions. You’re probably thinking, “Well, how do you expect me to stay joyful and strong if I am being attacked”? Here are a couple of tips from God’s Word.
- Go to God (Matthew 11:28)
- Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- Laugh at the devil (Psalm 37:13)
- Praise and worship the Lord (Hebrews 13:15 NASB)
- Count it all joy (James 1:2)
- Rejoice (Philippians 4:4)
- Run to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16)
- Don’t complain (Philippians 2:14)
- Study the Word about the situation (Joshua 1:8)
- Equip yourself spiritually (Ephesians 6:11-18)
- Be still and know Who is at work on your behalf (Psalms 46:10)
- Be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP)
- Ask for wisdom (James 1:5)
- Keep your eyes on God only (Hebrews 12:2 AMPC)
- Keep the faith (Matthew 17:20)
Will any of these make sense to your natural mind to do if you were under attack? Of course not, but God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore, we must be led by the spirit rather than by our flesh (see Galatians 5:16). You can’t fight spiritual warfare by earthly means and it is futile to try.
So next time you’re apt to protect what you think you’ll be physically losing, try putting that same amount of energy, if not more, into protecting your joy and your strength. You will have to make a conscious decision to keep the joy of the Lord no matter what is thrown at you. It’s time you start fighting the devil and making him regret coming after you. If you do your part, God will strengthen you to withstand it and come out victorious.