Those Sneaky Joy Robbers!

October 23, 2018
by Diane Eaton

My friend, Mary, couldn't understand why her almonds were disappearing. She had set out a dishful for snacking, but she certainly wasn't eating them that fast. The only other person around was her husband, so naturally, she suspected him. He adamantly denied any guilt in the crime. Her disappearing almonds remained a mystery — until one day, she overheard her neighbouring apartment dwellers complain about a mice infestation. Might that be the explanation? She herself saw no evidence, but nevertheless, she set out traps. In no time, she caught five mice. The mystery was solved, and thereafter, she enjoyed her almonds just as she wished: set out in her favourite bowl.

Mary's troubles got me thinking about joy robbers. These culprits can also infest our lives. Like Mary, we may blame people around us for ruining our joy. Meanwhile, the real thief sneaks around, undetected. What are these joy robbers? Jesus provides a clue:

Matthew 13:19 – When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. (NIV)

Surely Satan is the chief of joy robbers. He doesn't want us to have joy in the Lord. He's like a prowling lion on the hunt for those he can pull down through deceptions, those poorly rooted in God and His Word. Satan's aim is to distance people from God's magnificent promises, such as these:

Psalm 16:11b – You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV)

Psalm 94:19 – When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (NIV)

When Mary discovered the culprits, she made an important decision: to keep the traps set so that she wouldn't lose more almonds.

It's no different with joy. Without diligent "pest control" measures, our joy will keep on being robbed. I believe that our most effective "pest control" strategy is to be well-rooted in God and His promises. Let that forge our worldview. Then, when besetting worries or gnawing annoyances plague us, we won't get robbed of God's joy for us.

The apostle Paul is a suburb example of thief-proofed joy. He wrote:

Romans 14:17 – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

No assault could steal Paul's joy. His joy didn't depend on fleeting circumstance, but rather, on solid evidence — evidence of God's promises being fulfilled. Paul was witnessing God's work in the converts, and he affectionately called them "my joy and crown" (Philippians 4:1 NIV).

For us, it may be hard to grasp such depth of joy when we keep witnessing the discouraging outcomes of society's spiritual decline. Paul offered an effective "pest control" measure in saying, "Be joyful in hope" (Romans 12:12a NIV). Yes! God will prevail! When our joy is firmly rooted in such hope, nothing can steal it.

Prayer: Lord, restore for us, the joy of Your salvation. Help us to preserve the joy that You set out for us. Increase our joy through witnessing Your grace at work — still today. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Oh yes! That is a for sure!


    Thanks. I needed this today.


    Such a great devotional, thank you!


    Diane, your devotionals are the best!


    Thanks for the encouragement, Diane.


    Great story, thanks Diane and God bless!


    Ah yes! Mice. For such cute critters, they can be real pests. Thanks for sharing this devotional reminder to keep feeding our joy through the Word and worship. Blessings.


    Hi Diane,
    Many thanks for your devotional writings this morning. I chuckled about the story of the missing almonds. The Lord’s little creatures can be up to mischief! Our joy and hope truly comes from our fellowship with our Lord.
    Blessings to you.
    (B.C.)


    WOW, Your message today is so spot on, it is so true that our mind is such a powerhouse that it runs amok from time to time, and we end up in negative thinking. I once met a young lady, when I was a young man at a Christian outdoor camp named Joy. She was a best friend for the 10 days of camping so long ago.
    Thanks for the reminder and the memory.


    Thanks, Diane.
    Wonderful devotion!


    Good parable – thank you. Paul is indeed a superb example of finding joy in adversity.

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