“Joy and gladness are the currency on which heaven runs… Joy is deep-rooted happiness in the presence, person and nature of God. It sits in our heart and directs our life, displacing grief, mourning and sadness. When we have a quiet, God-given joy bubbling up inside us, the negative is pushed out.” Graham Cooke
Living strategically in the end times is a key to victory. The strategy of the enemy is to steal your joy. God’s strategy is that we are joyful in the midst of spiritual warfare. This may seem quite difficult when facing hard, strenuous battles. I went through some difficult warfare when praying towards and pressing through in battle to get books on prayer published, new prayer websites up and running, and an International School of Prayer developed. There seemed to be no forward movement, and anything to do with prayer faced the greatest spiritual attacks. I knew this. Yet the enemy really tried to bring discouragement into my life. Along with this was a battle with my health. But God is greater, and there was another way of looking at all of this. We have the hope and reality of heaven! It is time we bring the joy of heaven to earth.
Joy is our strategy against the works of the devil.
“Heaven is a place of exuberance, and we must bring that enthusiasm to earth. All of heaven – the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the angels, the saints – they all love to rejoice. Everything that God makes and touches manifests His happiness. It is embedded into our DNA.” Graham Cooke
God began to speak strongly to my heart. He was saying, “Do not despair or give up.” At that point, I realized that the enemy wanted to invade my life with a spirit of discouragement and despair, but God wanted to give me joy. I began to study about joy.
Did you know that there are nearly 300 verses in the Bible about joy? The Bible commands us to be joyful always, and pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:16), to be joyful in God (Hebrews 3:18), to consider it pure joy when we encounter trials (James 1:2), to tell of God’s works with songs of joy (Psalm 107:22), and the list goes on and on. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), there is joy in God’s presence (Acts 2:28), and the Holy Spirit gives joy (Luke 10:21). God wants to anoint us with the oil of joy (Hebrews 1:9), and He wants us to pray with joy (Philippians 1:4). Throughout Scripture, we are exhorted to shout and sing for joy (Psalm 118:15, Isaiah 52:9). Even the heavens, the earth, the mountains and trees are commanded to sing for joy! We are called to a high quality of life that includes joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.
“We are called to this same thriving quality of life, that no matter our circumstances, we live in the promise of God’s joy. It is impossible to keep God from being happy, and because of that, His Church cannot be denied joy either. Sadness and grief can only overlay our joy; it cannot prevent a breakthrough into it. We may have to look hard on days for that cheerfulness, but it is always present in the heart of God. Sadness must be infiltrated by joy.” Graham Cooke
Why then do we sometimes get heavy-hearted? We are in spiritual warfare, and Satan hates prayer so strongly. He doesn’t mind when we do many other ”good” things, but he trembles when we pray. He actually attacks us with a spirit of despair or discouragement. He will do everything he can to stop the advance of the prayer movement.
When a heavy weight of discouragement threatens to overwhelm you, and if there is no known sin in your life, you can be sure that the enemy is attacking you with a spirit of despair or discouragement. When you pray against the spirit of despair in your life, it can lift. I pray for each one of you to know the joy of the Lord which is your strength, and that every trace of discouragement or despair is lifted from your life in Jesus’ Name. I pray that the stronghold of hopelessness will be broken in the Name of Jesus. I pray that the joy of the Lord will permeate your prayer life and everything that you do.
God does not want you to be disheartened but He longs to fill you with His joy. He has anointed you to help others who are going through difficulty, and to actually bestow the oil of gladness, joy and praise on those who have a spirit of despair. This is the job description of Jesus. We are to be like Jesus.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:1, 2b-3).
A few years ago when we lived in Virginia Beach, we had tropical storm Ernesto pass through our city. Rain was pouring down, the streets were flooded, and clouds and wind were everywhere. People were told to stay in their homes due to the flooding. It was hard to imagine sunshine in the midst of the storm. On a flight, I experienced the plane flying through many clouds on the right and the left as it was ascending. Suddenly the plane came out into the sunshine above all the threatening clouds.
Circumstances can be like both of these examples. Heaviness and darkness can invade our lives because of what is happening around us, when we can’t see past the clouds and trials, and the devil takes the opportunity to attack us with a spirit of discouragement or despair. This is when we must rise above the clouds, and see life from God’s perspective and vantage point through His Word. The sunshine will one day return. We do not have to live in gloom or despair. God has provided a way out.
If you are feeling down and can’t seem to get out of it, take the authority in prayer that is rightfully yours, and break that discouragement in Jesus’ Name. Then ask God to fill you with His joy and peace. Write down the positive things in your life, and thank God for each one of them. God is able to push the negatives out as we begin to praise Him and dwell on the positive things that God has provided for us.
Don’t live your life according to your earthly circumstances but according to your position in Christ. Remember that you are seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3-6), are God’s possession (Ephesians 1:14), are chosen of God (Ephesians 1:11), are complete in Him (Colossians 2:9-10), are a kingdom of priests and a royal priesthood (Revelation 1:6, I Peter 2:9), are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16), are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are able to do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Strategic joy in the midst of warfare is yours. This is how you will live victoriously. This is your birthright!
“Don’t deny yourself that which is your birthright as a child of God. Don’t be satisfied with a joyless life. There ought to be in every Christian a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ that no circumstance of life can dispel. This comes as you allow the Holy Spirit to express Himself in your life. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Gal. 5:22). This joy is unlike any happiness that is produced by the world. It fills you and permeates everything you do. Jesus did not pray that you would merely be happy or even that you would escape grief. He prayed that you would have the same joy that the Father had given Him: a divine joy, a joy that comes from a deep and unwavering relationship with the Father. It is a joy that is grounded so firmly in a relationship with God that no change in circumstances could ever shake it. This is the kind of joy that Christ is praying will be in you.” Henry Blackaby
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International