Most people have heard of joy being a fruit of the spirit, but did you know that it is also a weapon? We are facing battles everyday. And being Christian doesn’t make us immune to experiencing the same types of warfare that a nonbeliever has to face. In fact, Christians often get attacked even more heavily because the enemy will stop at nothing to keep us from reaching our fullest potential in Christ. In many ways, we are able to avoid his oppressive attacks by simply making wise choices. For example, we can steer clear of drugs or choose not to drink alcohol. We can commit to purity and set up healthy boundaries with people. When taking preventative measures, no weapons are necessary. But what we fail to recognize at times is how he is at work in our thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. It’s easier for him to enter your life with this method because it’s a much more subtle, less recognizable approach. And you are more apt to entertain what is not easily detected as an attack. Fortunately, God has given us an arsenal of weapons to fight against these spiritual attacks from the onset; one of which is Joy. Here are a few truths you should know about Joy as a weapon, and how to use it:
What does it fight against? God has given us Joy as a weapon to fight against negative thoughts and emotions. This includes worry, doubt, cynicism, and depression, which can sap our energy as well as our faith. When we worry about our future, we are demonstrating our lack of trust in God. When we allow cynicism to settle into our spirit, we are in essence putting the focus on whomever or whatever is not good in our lives and can begin to lose hope in our situation. Do you see why the enemy would want to attack in this way? If he can get your focus off the promise and authority you have through Jesus, then he already has one strike against you.
How is it activated? The first step in activating the weapon of Joy is found in 1 Peter 5:7, which says to “cast all your cares on Jesus because He cares for you.” You will not be able to experience the Joy of the Lord without first emptying your concerns out loud to Him because there’s no way to be filled with anxiety and joy at the same time. You need to rid yourself of all negativity so that He can then activate the gift of the Holy Spirit; His Joy, in you.
How does it defeat? Nehemiah 8:10 states that “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” It gives you power and authority to overcome the grief and worry that are trying to overcome you! This is different from happiness, which is a feeling dependent upon what is happening around you. True joy is based on what’s going on inside you. It is a God-given ability that requires dependence on Him rather than our own selves, which is what makes it such a powerful weapon. There are several stories in the bible in which the weapon of joy has brought forth victory. Right before entering into battle, King Jehoshaphat's army of men shouted praise and sang to the Lord. As they did this, God set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moah and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. Imagine how baffled these adversaries were to hear their opponents worshipping God as they approached the battlefield! In any circumstance, being strengthened by the Joy of the Lord is downright confusing to the enemy. He cannot comprehend how anyone can be joyful in the midst of dire situations. And when you resist him by being joyful, he has no choice but to flee the scene (James 4:7)!
What does it look like? Joy looks like laughter, singing, and praise. The Proverbs 31 woman is described as one who “laughs at the days to come.” This basically means that she is so trusting of God that she has no fear of the future. The devil may have plans to destroy her, but with God, she is ready for whatever comes her way. She will not allow the enemy to steal her joy! God can fill your mouth with laughter, and your tongue with singing (Psalms 126:2). He wants to crown your head with EVERLASTING JOY and promises that after gladness and joy overtake you, sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10). That in and of itself is reason to praise Him!
So the next time you feel depressed, oppressed, heavily burdened, or overwhelmed, try using Joy as a weapon to fight with. Not only will you confuse the enemy, but you’ll defeat him at the same time!