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Overcoming Addictions 04/21/17

What Is Stealing Your Joy?

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In 1974, Disney released a short film, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, including a plot where Tigger promises to "never bounce again". The playful character was notable for bouncing. He didn't walk much because he was always so joyful he bounced throughout the 100-Acre Wood in the classic tales of Winnie the Pooh. In the film, his whole demeanor changes as he trudges away from his friends to begin keeping his vow. For Tigger lovers, it was disturbing to see Tigger with his head drooping down and a downcast voice. It's a fine example of losing one's joy. His friends all agreed that they liked the bouncy Tigger better and were all happy when he returned to his normal self later in the story.

Most Christians can remember times in their lives when their joy in the Lord overflowed. They had their "bounce" and it was noticeable. Many miss their joy and are wondering where it went. Does this describe you? If so, what is stealing your joy?

Could it be unconfessed sin? Not coming clean with God about our sins puts a wedge between us and the Lord. Search your life. Is there sin that you have not confessed? Be specific. Perhaps you've confessed it, but haven't stopped doing it.

Throughout the Bible, God's people are commanded to admit their sins, turn away from their idols and sins, and turn their lives over to the will of God (Ezekiel 14:6, Matthew 9:13, Luke 13:3). When we confess and repent we are put back in right relationship with Jesus Christ. Our joy can return.

It's important to realize that nothing can steal our joy. We allow our joy to be eroded. Here are a few common ways we do this:

We can place too much importance on our relationships with people in our lives. We may love them more than we love our Savior. Our energy is focused on another person instead of the One who has promised to never leave us or forsake us, the One who gave His life so we can be reconciled with our Creator. When circumstances become unpleasant with or for the people we have placed before Christ, our joy fades.

We may allow our social agenda and material possessions to have prominence in our lives. Such distractions can drag us away from the basic, simplistic priorities Jesus specified as the two most important commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind, your soul and your life; and love others as you would yourself.

We may look for comfort in the things of the world or by trying to escape reality. We may get tired of how things are and turn to destructive habits and behaviors to escape the trials, disappointments, and stresses of life. Instead of taking time to work through life's difficulties through prayer, reading God's Word, and seeking God's wisdom, we choose ungodly ways to make us feel better in dealing with uncomfortable circumstances. We hand over our joy to false gods, our idols who offer us counterfeit solutions.

Want your joy back? Take it back. It begins with a true revival in us. Seek God first. Trade in our sorrows and pain. Lay them down for the joy of the Lord!

Copyright © 2010 Beth Livingston. Used by permission.

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