At the beginning of any relationship, there is an anticipation that consumes your body. Similar to adrenaline, there is a rush each time you hold hands, embrace or hear the sound of this significant other’s voice on the phone. As you experience this initial stage of courtship, your mind can’t keep thinking about the person you love. Joy abounds every moment you spend together. Then, little by little over time, joy disappears.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones, Proverbs 17:22.
This pattern also affects individuals who enter into a relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10. Introductions to faith occur in various places, from Bible studies, one on one conversations, spiritual retreats and revivals. When you begin to connect with God through prayer, study and worship, a peace that surpasses all understanding begins to emerge. As you interact with other believers, this spiritual bond deepens, filling souls with the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, hardship, temptations and worries in life suffocate the joy most people have for the Lord.
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full, John 16:24.
Within a letter to the church of Rome, the apostle Paul urges individuals who are single to avoid marriage unless called to do so. The context of these words refer to the struggle to keep Christ first when married. No matter how disciplined, focused and strong you are, the weight of the world can easily erode joy for life. Thus, while you may not have the feelings you once possessed, faith is designed to carry you through the rough stretches in life. If faith without deeds is dead, the same concept applies to joy. This explains why my joy for life has vanished. In view of this, make sure you rely on the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, so that joy will return and live again.
by Jay Mankus