Joy Versus Enjoy (Part 1)

Don’t let anyone or any circumstance steal your joy. You need to protect it. Today I want to talk about joy stealers. Author Warren Wiersbe wrote a commentary on the book of Philippians. In his chapter entitled, “Joy Stealers,” he reveals four things that can possibly steal our joy: people, circumstances, worry, and things. Another pastor cited an additional four: bitterness, guilt, negativity, and busyness. 

First, let me say that joy is a work of the Spirit; happiness is a by-product of human emotion. Joy is permanent unless otherwise allowed to be stolen. Happiness is fleeting. A man or woman can be happy one second, hear some bad news, and reach the depths of despair within the next minute. We cannot build our lives on happiness. According to Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord produces strength.” That’s why the enemy is always attacking your joy. To steal your joy is to make you doubt the goodness of God, the power of prayer and to minimize your faith. Joy is what sustains us through both the good and bad times.  

Where should believers put their emphasis? On joy or enjoy? Joy is permanent. “Enjoy” is determined by our circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with enjoyment, but there’s everything wrong when to enjoy something takes precedence over the Lord’s joy. “Enjoy” is shallow. Joy is deep-rooted and life-sustaining. When Christians place their life emphasis on “enjoy”, they begin to minimize spiritual disciplines like church attendance, prayer, Bible reading, maintaining a good testimony, etc. 

Years ago, I heard evangelist Benny Hinn say, “The world emphasizes enjoy, while God emphasizes joy. When we elevate “enjoy” above the absolute necessity of walking in joy, we open ourselves to defeat in life situations. Those who live solely to enjoy life are often heard using catchphrases like: “I deserve to have fun.” “It’s not fair.” “No one cares about me.” “I don’t deserve this.” “No one cares what I think.” “I have no friends.” “I’m the only one who does anything around here.” And drum roll…. “It’s all about me.” Every conversation goes back to “I.” or what I need, or what’s happened to me, or what I think, or how I feel. Seldom do such people ask others how they’re doing. And often narcissists have difficulty making and keeping friends. 

What is the Definition of joy? The dictionary says “A deep feeling or condition of contentment, unyielding hope. Billy Graham said, “Joy is bulldog tenacity that holds on to faith.”

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