This will be a short message but I hope an important one. What is joy? What steals your Joy? Are their times where you just wonder what happened?
I have heard many sermons on how to maintain your Joy, how to learn to rejoice in all circumstances, to praise God for the little things and big things and this will restore your joy. To thank God in all circumstances. Their are a mass amount of sermons and keys and tips to try and get your joy back. Do you ever wonder after you follow the 12 steps or use the 3 keys that it is only a temporary thing, and you try to refill it again and get your fix like someone who is trying to lose weight, going to the convenient store to get that chocolate they crave to satisfy their hunger for sugar?
Why can’t we be like Paul and Silus sing Hymns in a dirty jail? or like Peter sleeping so soundly chained up between Guards that an angel had to strike him to wake him up?
Well the bible has the answer, and in today’s self help feel good society and churches most sermons forget the one reason the joy is strangles out of their life in a slow cruel death.
Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. KJV
The reason my friends would be secret sin. The sin in our lives that is hidden in darkness and no one can see, except it lays naked and open before God. That sin that strangles the life slowly out of you. The jealousy, or anger that creeps in. You suppress it and no one can see, but it poisons your soul like a deadly virus that slowly eats away at your flesh. That stubbornness and rebellion, that you think you are right, and the other people are wrong. The wanting to get your own way over letting others get theirs. The great desire that over whelms you to gossip, but making yourself look spiritual by covering it with the camouflage of a person needing prayer.
Sin has a hold of you an beckons you to come. Hold my hand it says. Lets fellowship for a little bit. Its not going to hurt. You deserve this. Others do not know what you are going through so lets indulge just a little.
Sin seeking ultimately to wear you down, torture you, and to become your master once again.
I got good news. Jesus destroyed the power of sin. He conquered it. He gave us the victory over it through Him. But in order to get out of it, to get your joy back to stay, is to repent. The dreaded R word that is not allowed in most churches. It is considered bad because you are judging or you are putting down. But in reality it is the greatest word for freedom. Repent means turn from sin and go the opposite direction. To forsake it. To many people Just apologize to God and ask for forgiveness. That is only half of repentance. We also have to turn our feet and leave the sin, where it lies.
To be free, you need to do what David did, ask God to search your heart for any secret sin. Repent of it. Confess your faults to a trusted brother or sister. They can lift you in prayer. But their is no magic formula. It is work. Just like a person losing weight, they have to work at it, resist the temptation to eat, and work out. We have to resist the temptation, flee from it, not dance with sin or see how close we can get. It is work we have to put our feet to and when we strive against sin.It becomes a life style of pursuing holiness, then and only then will your joy stay even if you trip.
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. KJV
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.