A few days ago, I saw my neighbor Alma covering the window of her brand new car with plastic. ¿Qué pasó? (What happened?), I asked. She explained that someone had smashed the window and stole her son’s iPad which he had left at the backseat. Her son learned a very painful and expensive lesson, but this incident left them with a plethora of emotions.
How would you feel if this happened to you? I know I would be seething in anger, fearful for my security, despondent over the invasion of my privacy, and dejected because of the loss of precious photographs stored on the iPad. And of course, I would be miserable because of the loss of a pricey toy and damage to my brand new car!
Thieves and robbers have that effect on you. Their crime could leave you all torn up inside. They rob you of your joy; and that is much more important than the item(s) they stole from you.
As I reflected on the experience of Alma’s family, I was reminded of Satan, the greatest thief of all. He tries to steal so much from me, but he tries his best to rob me of my joy. Why? Well, do you remember what Nehemiah said to encourage the people of Israel?
This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Satan knows that when he succeeds in robbing me of my joy, I become weak. When I am weak, I become vulnerable to temptation. Without the strength of the Lord, I fall into sin more easily. I become unproductive for God’s purposes. I stray from God’s intentions, unable to contribute to the fulfillment of the Lord’s mission.
Keep watch then. Aside from Satan, there are many other joy-robbers around you–obnoxious people, unpleasant circumstances, inclement weather, the condition of your liver, etc. There is nothing you can do to completely avoid joy-robbers. However, you can decide how to respond to these. We must not allow anything or anyone to rob us of the joy of the Lord; because without his joy, we will not have the strength to do his will.
How do we cultivate the joy of the Lord? What will help you jump for joy today? Any ideas?