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Indestructible Joy

Can you relate…

Something will happen and the joy will be fairly ripped from our breast, thrown on the ground, stomped and crushed and torn, and we stand there, confused and hurt, and empty—devoid of joy.

But a word will be said

a small sound will come

a tender touch

and from somewhere deep within there is a tiny ember.

You know what it is! And you find tears streaming down your face, for welling up inside from that ember comes JOY—the joy you thought was gone forever. This joy is a "knowing," it is not a "feeling." It is knowing that He has everything under control. It is knowing that He loves me, that He lives in me, and that I am secure in Him.

Paul knew this joy; he mentioned it fourteen times in his letter to the Philippians and he was in prison at the time. What do you suppose his cell looked like? Light and airy? Clean, nice bed, adequate bathroom facilities and nourishing meals? I don’t think so. What were the circumstances in Paul’s life? No stress? No enemies? Abounding comfort? Everything going his way? Skipping happily down "the yellow brick road?" What was he going through? Let’s look:

Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-29

To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
1 Corinthians 4:11- 13

The joy that Paul was telling us about was obviously indestructible! He wrote to us about having joy while he was enduring indescribable pain, isolation, disappointments—all of the things he listed. Then he gives us the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit and it is all encompassing as you think about it:

Love. Joy gives me beautiful songs of love.

Peace. Joy frees me from anxiety.

Patience. Joy causes me to realize that God has everything under control.

Kindness. Joy frees me from hateful, gruff, unkind words and opens the gates of compassion and tenderness.

Goodness. Joy makes serving others a pleasure.

Faithfulness. Joy gives contentment in the most adverse circumstances.

Gentleness. Joy gives me calmness under pressure.

Self-control. Joy sets me free so I don’t have to play games any longer for other people. I know wherein my joy lies. "Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).

"Lord, this indestructible joy is mine. I don’t need to pray for it or plead with you to grant this joy to me. It is mine because You live in me! I know that! So what am I to do? I am to open the gates and let that joy flow out of me. I keep it all dammed up inside—letting my inhibition and pride control this river of joy. I pray for courage, dear Lord. If I smile at someone—no matter how brusque they look, generally they smile back. And if I just had the gumption to twirl around in the street, dancing with pure joy, I think some folks might just dance with me or encourage me. I can just hear them: "Go to it, Girl!" "Great!" And they would clap and cheer. Of course there are those others, but I can ignore those who think I’m crazy! Right, Lord? Amen."

Joy! It is mine—today—forever because He is forever and He lives in me!

My joy—my peace—is no one’s responsibility but my own! No harsh or unkind word, no slight, no wrong committed by anyone can rob me of my joy and peace—unless I let it!

"Lord, You have given me the power to refuse any word and defuse any act that would rob me of my joy and peace. May I be alert and aware of Your power within me. Thank You. Amen."

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.