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Finding Freedom in Joy of the Lord

Are you aware that heavenly peace surpasses, rises above, and outranks every attack of the enemy? The length and breadth and height, and depth of divine peace and joy are beyond measure, far beyond the reasoning of the human intellect. Peace is the God-ordained pre-requisite to joy. You might say that joy is the fruit of peace. Peace births joy! If you want to live in a state of joy, learn first to live in a state of peace.

God also promises to guard our hearts and minds from destructive thoughts and actions that could preclude us from experiencing His incomprehensible gifts of peace and joy. Of course, man must be careful what he allows into his spirit that may offend the Most High God, endanger his character, and put him at risk for possible enemy assault. We must dwell on the virtues that Paul acclaims in the following verse:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Php 4:8

The Greek term “phroureo”, meaning “to guard,” conveys the idea of being guarded by military forces. Imagine an intensely vigilant, well-armed, well-trained, seasoned soldier or company of soldiers standing guard around you, your spouse, your children, and your property. These soldiers are present to defend your personal interests, both offensively and defensively, even at the peril of their lives. They are public servants willing to die for you, a stranger, in need of military protection.

Now, let’s spiritualize this concept. Almighty God has empowered an immense squadron of angelic hosts to guard His people. These angelic beings are better trained and equipped than any earthly military force because they have been endowed with a divine commission and have been dispatched by the Commander in Chief of heaven’s army. What comfort it is to know that our hearts and minds are guarded by the Lord Himself and the angelic hosts He sends to stand guard before us.

There are practical ways to guard your peace and joy offensively, while disarming the enemy before he attempts to rob you of your God-given “survival” gifts of peace and joy. For example, in today’s world of high technology and instant global communication, every tragic event in the world is instantly relayed to our televisions, radios, cell phones, and computers, creating an overload of grief for the consumer of bad news. While I do not advocate keeping our heads in the sand regarding current events, I do urge caution from excessive viewing of world-wide chaos and calamities.

While it is vitally important to keep abreast of global events that affect all of us on a daily basis, it may be enough at times to read the headlines and wave off the gory details that can lead some down the dark road of hopelessness and despair. Sometimes a brief synopsis of events viewed or read is all you need to know. Then prayer comes into the picture. Why? Because prayer changes things!

I suggest looking for additional ways to guard God’s precious gift of joy in your life. An overdose of sad, stressful, or scary movies or television programs can be enough to trigger a serious bout of melancholy in some individuals. A good, wholesome comedy, however, can bring one out of the doldrums, so laugh, laugh, and laugh some more! Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “Laughter doeth good like a dose of medicine.” That verse stands up in the medical community today. Isn’t it amazing how the Bible is always up to date and far ahead of the knowledge of man?

Reading the Bible, the book of Psalms in particular, is a wonderful anecdote to depression. Focus on the glory of the Lord, and praise Him for all He has done. The Creator of the universe is able to lift His beloved children above every negative circumstance in life. Dwell on His awesome majesty rather than your trials. The problems of life are miniscule compared to the greatness of our Redeemer. As God becomes greater and greater in your life, the scope of your problems will be minimized. Offer Him thanks and praise for providing continual guard duty for you and your loved ones.

As you celebrate the 4th of July this year, give special thanks to the Almighty for setting you free from the cares of this world.  “He who the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36).  Hallelujah!

For additional enrichment on the subject of joy, see my newly released four-session Bible study: Exchanging Sorrow for Joy, available from noreenjacks.com and bibleinteract.com.