Why We Lose Our Joy

Prophet Elisee Yao / 9 Feb 2020

2020 is the year of great joy, but every proclamation of God is fought against by the kingdom of darkness. So when you prophesy the year of joy, it could feel like the opposite. We need the spiritual understanding to discern what God is doing in order to benefit from what He is saying prophetically.

Many are trapped in the mindset of believing that our joy is related to whether or not we meet the daily standards set by society. We find ourselves believing that every misfortune or failure to live up to these standards is a catastrophe. Certain standards are so engrained in us because we are born into them and conditioned to meet them growing up. The issue is that many of these ‘norms’ are validated by the Church. If a young person is not married by a certain age, for example, the church sees it as inappropriate, and the person is depressed because they don’t have a partner. Why are Christians so heavily influenced by worldly standards?

What we believe we need is the source of our joy or depression. Unfulfilled expectations (in those around us, in ourselves, and our circumstances) are a major source of disappointment. If we need love and our partner doesn’t give it to us in the form we desire, we are unhappy, or if our children misbehave in public, we are embarrassed about our image as a ‘bad parent’. Our state of contentment has become dependent on things that we need in this life. One of the greatest tools Satan uses today is a sense of ownership. Many are driven by an insatiable need for acknowledgement and an intense desire to own something: your own car, house, husband, or wife. So most of the time, what steals your joy is a lack of material things: not being able to afford renovating your house (while your unsaved neighbour can), your business going poorly, your spouse not behaving the way you want them to, phone calls with bad news, cars not working, or Churches not meeting your expectations.

What we believe we need is the source of our joy or depression.

The church has been hijacked by a system and the enemy is gloating over it. We are need-driven and Satan knows this all too well. Great joy is taken out by the little stuff. The enemy does not need to shoot a big arrow at us, only a small one because he knows exactly which buttons to press to agitate and distract us. Something as small as buying into the lie that no one in church likes you, can be deeply destructive. We need to discern that we often look  at others through the lenses of our own problems, nurturing harmful thought patterns, and unrealistically expecting others to see through the same glasses we are wearing.

Seeing Beyond the Stone

Matthew 28:1-7, New International Version (NIV)
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

One of our greatest barriers to joy is the fact that we do not see what the Lord has already done. The women went to the tomb and were talking among themselves asking, “who will roll the stone away [for us]?” (Mark 16:3). They wanted to see Jesus’ body again to perhaps apply preserving ointments. They were looking at the stone, not perceiving what had already happened behind the stone. Jesus didn’t leave through the opening of the tomb; while they were coming to see His body, He was already out, but they assumed that Jesus’ body was still inside. The stone wasn’t rolled away for Jesus to exit, the stone was rolled away as a testimony to the women of what had already happened behind it. Similarly, your breakthrough is not for you; it is a testimony for others to see and know that God indeed gave you your breakthrough!

One of our greatest barriers to joy is the fact that we do not see what the Lord has already done.

So many times we feel that resurrection (breakthrough) has not yet happened. The women and disciples were still mourning Jesus’ death even when He had told them that after three days He would rise, but on the third day they were still expecting to see His body. Joy was not in their hearts because they didn’t know what God had already done, and the stone was preventing them from seeing it. The people who have the fortitude to see beyond the stone are always joyful. Between the resurrection (breakthrough) and the moving of the stone, there is a gap. Resurrection may have already happened, but the stone is still there. What you have trusted God for, has already happened, but there is a stone preventing you from seeing what God has done. If you want to be joyful, refuse to look at the stone! Paul tells us that “we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18, NKJV).

The people who have the fortitude to see beyond the stone are always joyful.

Beware of Judging Others

Judging others limits your joy. Be careful of how you judge people because between who you knew them to be, and who they are now, repentance has taken place. Breakthrough has already happened, and yet you are judging them on the stone set before your eyes. Even the two disciples on the road to Emmaus assumed that the stone was still in front of Jesus’ tomb (Luke 24:13-35). They didn’t know what had happened in between. They were talking and gossiping about Jesus when He Himself joined them on the road The two criticized Jesus (not recognising Him) for not knowing what had happened in Jerusalem and the report about the tomb that was empty that morning. Jesus went on to teach them what the scriptures prophesied about Him. And it was only later that evening, after being encouraged to stay with them, when Jesus broke bread with them, that their eyes were opened. Our eyes need to be opened to have an accurate judgement of what is really happening and who people really are. If you are blind to what is happening in the spirit, you will judge incorrectly.

The women at the tomb were shocked when they saw that Jesus’ body was gone, because while they were mourning Jesus had already risen! Your breakthrough has already come; the thing you are weeping over is already settled, but you don’t see or feel it because your eyes are focused on what is going on around you in the natural.

There is an Appointed Mountain

Matthew 28:7, New International Version (NIV)
7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

When Jesus rose He went into Galilee. He was specific about where He was going, and where He would be seen. If the disciples hadn’t gone to Galilee, even though Jesus rose, they wouldn’t have seen Him. There is a specific place where God will meet you. Sometimes we are at the wrong place spiritually, so while we really want to see what God is doing, God is not in that place. We must move into the place where God wants us to be to see clearly.

We must move into the place where God wants us to be to see clearly.

Galilee is a region, not a city, and it was Jesus’ home town. Furthermore, Matthew tells us that He didn’t just send the disciples to Galilee, He sent them to a mountain.

Matthew 28:16, New King James Version (NKJV)
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

This is the accuracy of Jesus: there were many mountains in the region of Galilee, but there was only one mountain that Jesus had appointed for the disciples. You will not meet God on every mountain: there is an appointed mountain. When Abraham had to sacrifice Isaac, there were many mountains in the area but God showed him which exact one Abraham should climb. If Abraham had offered his sacrifice on any other mountain other than the one appointed by God, God would not have met him there.

Your Christian journey is made up of many divine appointments. When you cannot discern when your specific appointment is, you will run from one appointment to another with disappointing results. We need to be tuned into the spirit to know where the place of divine encounter is, because you will miss out on what God is saying if you are not a man of the senses of the spirit.

Joy is Found in the Secret Place

Do you have a covenantal time with God? If you really walk closely with Him, you can ask Him which period of time in the 24 hours of each day is ordained especially for you; a divinely appointed ‘mountain time’ with God. The problem is, we are not precise enough: we pray anyhow, anytime. We want our breakthrough to come, but we are running all over the show while breakthrough is waiting on God’s appointed mountain, designated for you to meet it. If you want to keep your joy when things go wrong, and truly see and experience God, go back to your place of first encounter. Remind yourself of the testimony of what God has already done in your life. That place can become your spiritual Galilee.

Do you have a covenantal time with God?

Every successful person has a secret that they tend to share at the end of their lives. The appointed mountain where God wants to meet you is your secret place. Do you have such a place? The mountain you sit on when you are in trouble, and where you run to in prayer. When the army pursued Elijah he retreated to Mount Carmel where he had killed the prophets of Baal: back to his secret place where he had experienced victory. The same fire that consumed the altar of Baal, came down and consumed the army chasing Elijah. In your place of intimacy, the fire of God is active. When you leave that place, the fire is gone and that is why when you leave your mountain, the challenges begin. The reason why we are afraid of Satan is because we have moved out of our place of encounter.

You will never be able to overcome without having a secret place where you sit in His Presence. God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). It is in the sitting that God will fight for you but you need to come to the table. God expects us to trust Him and be at rest no matter what is happening around us. And it is in that place of rest in the Lord that the enemy will flee all by himself.

You will never be able to overcome without having a secret place... 

The problem is that we often see other people as the source, running to them for solutions and help. So we lack joy because we have moved away from our one true Source. We have shifted our gaze from Him to beholding the stone, and it is preventing us from seeing what God is doing (and has already done) behind the stone.

What are beholding? What is the stone in your life that you feel isn’t moving? Look past the stone, see with the eyes of the Spirit, and fix your eyes on Jesus: the resurrection and the life. 

Previous Article
Joy in a Purpose-Driven Life
Next Article
2020: The Year of Great Joy!