Joy is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that can help us overcome the attacks of the enemy. Let's explore the connection between joy and spiritual warfare and how we can cultivate joy in our lives.
1. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Joy is not something we can manufacture on our own. It is a gift from God that comes through the Holy Spirit. Whenever I find myself struggling to find my joy, I start with praise and worship. Even if I don't initially feel like lifting my hands or opening my mouth to praise God, by filling the atmosphere with worship, my spirit eventually catches up.
2. Joy is a weapon against the enemy
Nehemiah 8:10 says, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." When we are filled with joy, we are strengthened to resist the attacks of the enemy. The devil wants to steal our joy and make us feel defeated, but when we hold onto the joy of the Lord, we can overcome his schemes. I think about seasons of great trial when our son Manny was in the hospital. I made intentional decisions to spend my time celebrating with others, rather than commiserating over my battles. By removing the focus from my problems and placing the focus on things more positive, I gained the strength I needed to not only pray for my child, but to encourage him and give him the joy he needed for the trial.
3. Joy is a choice
Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." Joy is not dependent on our circumstances. We can choose to rejoice in the Lord no matter what is happening around us. This is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare because it takes our focus off of our problems and onto God's goodness. It does not matter if the people around you are committed to misery. You can find small ways to protect your joy and peace. For example, when I found myself in an extremely toxic work environment, I made the choice to put on my headphones and play praise and worship music rather than go to lunch or engage in unnecessary discussion with my coworkers. They felt I was being snooty, I knew I was protecting my joy. You cannot protect your joy, and be a people pleaser at the same time.
4. Joy is contagious
Proverbs 17:22 says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." When we are filled with joy, it can spread to those around us. This is important in spiritual warfare because we can encourage and uplift others who may be struggling.
5. Joy comes through obedience
John 15:10-11 says, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." When we obey God's commands, we experience the fullness of joy that comes from abiding in his love.
This was a huge lesson for me to learn, as I am usually a bit stubborn and resistant to obey God when his instructions don't seem to make sense, based on what I can see with the physical eye. God knows the depths and desires of your heart more than you do, he knows the path that will lead you to his righteousness, and in turn, meet the desires that you may not even know exist. Trust God, obey anyway.
Joy is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that can help us overcome the attacks of the enemy. We can cultivate joy in our lives by choosing to rejoice in the Lord, obeying his commands, and focusing on his goodness. As we do this, we will experience the strength and encouragement that comes from the joy of the Lord.