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Monday, March 9, 2009

Only the Strong Survive

We sang a little song in Sunday School that went, I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart... If you sang it too, I’m sure you are remembering the catchy tune.

But truth be told, we can sing that song all day but it doesn’t mean we will always have joy. The antonym of joy is discouragement. You can become discouraged when you are dissatisfied with your past, have a distaste for your present, and a distrust of your future.

David knew exactly how discouragement felt and tasted. Bitter.

He lost everything at Ziklag; his family, possessions, and even the trust of his own men.

We all from time to time can face some difficult situations, some unbearable situations, but no matter what we go through, there is usually at least one person you can turn to for encouragement and support. Someone who can speak a word of hope and life when you see no hope and your life feels more like a death.

Well, that’s right where David was living, or should I say, dying. Unfortunately, David had no one to encourage him and no one to speak life back into him. Therefore, David did the only thing he could do, he encouraged himself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6).

The enemy is the great discourager, but God is the great encourager. David had a choice, wallow in self pity or rise up and stir up every ounce of joy he could find. Thankfully for him, he chose the latter.

David lost it all, would recover it all, but first it required him to regain his strength. If you are going to regain all the enemy has stolen from you, you too are going to need to do some intense strength training.

Where did David’s strength come from? Well, of course, the Lord. But your strength from God comes to you through your joy in God. I know that seems odd. Having joy in devastating times just does not compute does it?

But Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. We must have our strength because of what 1 Peter 5:8 warns us of,

Keep your mind clear, and be alert because our opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.

When we read this we tend to focus on the analogy of the enemy as a majestic 400 pound muscular beast with a roar that will terrify the most awe-inspiring of wild animals. We compare Satan with the strength and viciousness of lions roaming the plains of Africa.

But do you know what a lion does when he is stalking his prey? He seeks out the feeble. He never engages the strong, he always exploits the weak.

That’s why we MUST regain our strength when it is hid behind the sorrow of our hearts. And sometimes that means we will have to encourage ourselves when no one else will.

Knowing the joy of the Lord is your strength, the enemy seeks to steal your joy (John10:10), thereby reducing you to a weakened state. But if you can retain your joy, you will be destined to triumph. This is a powerful principle.

If the devil cannot steal your joy, he cannot defeat you!

At the moment David encouraged himself, he recovered his joy and placed himself on a course to change his devastating situation around. You need to know that joy is not simply a preferred emotional state we need to live in; it is a necessary component to attaining full recovery of ALL the enemy has taken from you.

What the devil meant to destroy David with, GOD turned it for his good. And God will do the same for you! But you must regain your strength by encouraging yourself in the Lord, even if it means becoming that 5yr old child once again and singing, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!

Hope you have a great Monday!

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