Summary: Do not go the next 20 years allowing the same things to steal your joy. Change your approach. Learn to live in that joy.
Don’t lose your song.
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Introduction: Many people walk around daily with a sad, grumpy face. For some the words ‘Christian and ‘joy’ contradict each other. They feel that Christians have to look unhappy and some even look like they have been baptized with vinegar.
Joke: Once there was a large Pastor’s conference where pastors from across the nation came. All the pastors finished the Sunday worship in their churches and rushed to the convention, all were tired. During the break, several of the preachers ran across the street from the convention centre to purchase some snacks from a supermarket. The store bill man started checking out the pastors one by one – They are buying chips, gums, soft drinks, newspapers and so on. One man put a big bottle of cough syrup and some Vicks on the counter. The clerk very smilingly asked, “All pastors need some rest isn’t it? But where do you preach, sir? You not only are tired but look sick too.” The man with a bad look on his face said, “Come ‘on, I am not a preacher! I just look this way because I’m sick.”
Many people base their happiness on material things. It seems that the more man has, the more they want, the more unhappy they are, and the less joy they have. Yet some people with very little material blessings have great joy. Why? Joy is not based on material goods. Joy is inner contentment, calm delight, gladness; all of which has to come from within.
David said in Psalm 51:10 Restore to me the joy of your salvation. God gives joy or restores joy when someone accepts him as his personal saviour.
1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
The joy that we receive at salvation is described as “unspeakable.” It is so wonderful that it cannot be described fully. Remember, this joy is only available to believers in Jesus Christ, so the first part to begin seeking joy is the presence of God. Anyone listening to me is seeking joy, peace, and life; the first step is to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour. He is the source of all joy.
Now, God has given us unspeakable joy but the devil tries to steal our joy on a regular basis. You see, Satan does not want Christians to be joyful people, so he will keep bringing us things everyday to keep us unhappy. Jesus said in John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. In other words, Jesus is saying, “I came so that you can live life happily but beware the devil is there out to steal your joy.”
According to medical studies stress is the number one killer. Everyone has their own stress in life and we need to learn to cope up with them without losing our joy. Stress causes people to be irritable, short-tempered, sleepless etc and we need to learn to deal with stress.
Illustration: I heard the story of a man who got a Reader’s Digest award of 4 million dollars. His wife got the letter but was afraid to tell this good news to her husband because he was recovering from a massive heart attack and she feared that this news would stress him and cause another attack on him. So she decided to call their pastor and asked his advice because he had some experience in breaking stressful news to families. The pastor finally came and went into the room where this man was seeing TV. They had a nice chat for a few minutes. Then the Pastor leaned over and said, “Mike, I have a problem, I need your advice.” “I will be glad to,” Mike said. The pastor took a deep breath and said, “Suppose Mike you have found out that you won 4 million dollars, what would you first do will all of that money?” “That’s easy,” Mike replied. “I will give 2 million dollars to you, you are my pastor.” Upon hearing this, the pastor got a heart attack and he dropped down dead.
Stress both positive and negative can be disastrous, it can steal our joy. Many things can produce stress in us: Marriage, having a baby, marital problems, job promotion, overwork (The Israelites were overworked by Pharaoh in Egypt, their hearts became bitter and lost their joy), losing your job, illness, death of a loved one, retirement all things of life whether positive or negative can result in stress if not handled properly.