Here are 4 common things that happen when Satan is trying to steal your joy.
1. If You Are Being Tempted to Focus More on What You Don’t Have and Less on What You Do Have, Oftentimes This Is a Sign Satan Is Seeking to Steal Your Joy
One of Satan’s favorites tactics is to tempt God’s people to shift their eyes away from the blessings God has granted towards the other things he has not granted them. Satan loves this attack so much because it is very effective. Look how it worked on Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:6-7. It states:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”
There were so many other trees they could have eaten from, but there was only one tree that was off limits. Of course, this then became the one tree Satan wanted them to focus on. Notice it states the woman “saw” that “the tree” was what she wanted now. Satan used two things to tempt Adam and Eve, their eyes and the tree they were not allowed to have.
Likewise, Satan will try to steal your joy by getting you to turn your eyes away from all the good God has granted you in life and to then focus on the other things that are currently off limits.
2. If You Are Not Recharging the Gift of Motivation God Has Granted You Through Respecting Your Need for Rest, This Is Often a Sign Satan Is Trying to Steal Your Joy
Perhaps one of the most undervalued gifts of God is motivation. Why do some people love to paint? Why do some people love to sing? Why do some people love to write? Why do some people love to teach? Why do some people love to serve? The reason we have certain desires and lack other desires is because God gifts us with certain motivations. Notice the motivation God gave to some to work on the tabernacle in Exodus 36:1-2. It states:
Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded. And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.”
God gave a special motivation and ability to certain people to work on the tabernacle. If you don’t love to write, it would be torture to try to write a book. But if you love to write, all you want is the time to write that book. If you don’t love to work with kids, working in the kid’s ministry would be terrible. If you love to work with kids, you can’t wait for next Sunday so you can see all your students again.
My point is, God gifts us with certain drives and motivations. It’s a joy to pursue the passions God has put on your heart to serve him. But one way Satan tries to steal this joy is by tempting us to neglect our need for rest. When we don’t rest and we get exhausted and depleted, something terrible begins to happen. We begin to lose our God-given motivation for the purposes he has placed on our hearts. Notice Jesus’s awareness of his disciples need for rest. In Mark 6:30-31 it states:
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”
Jesus had sent them out and they were overjoyed by the work the Spirit had done through them on their journeys. But now Jesus knew they needed to rest or else they would lose their God-given motivation.
It’s a terrible tragedy to lose motivation, which is why Satan wants us to run ourselves ragged so our passion for God’s purpose on our lives grows weak and dull. Don’t let the gift of motivation be stolen through Satan’s temptation to run yourself into the ground.
3. If Other Good Things Are Being Used to Replace Your Time in God’s Presence, This Is a Sign Satan Is Trying to Steal Your Joy
Jesus was obviously passionate about his work on earth. He had more drive and determination than anyone who has ever walked the face of this planet. And yet, in the midst of his mission on earth, he always made sure to prioritize the presence of God in his life through prayer. As Luke 5:15-16 (NIV) states:
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
This verse takes place right when things were starting to heat up for Jesus’ earthly ministry. News about him was spreading. The crowds were getting larger and larger. For most, this would be the time to double down and really focus on the ministry. But Jesus is not like us. He doesn’t get blinded by the moment. He continued to keep his focus on the true source of his joy, his Father’s presence.
Satan will do whatever he can to keep you out of the Bible, to keep you off your knees in prayer, and to keep you away from other believers who love the presence of God.
4. If You Are Being Tempted to Focus Less on Pursuing a Christ-Centered Life, This Is a Sign Satan Is Trying to Steal Your Joy
Psalm 16:11 states, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This is what we discussed in point 3. But if you truly want to experience God’s presence in your life, this means you must seek to live a Christ-centered life, for only Jesus Christ himself is the true mediator between God and man.
Christ is always going about his Father’s business. Christ is the gateway into the kingdom of heaven. Without Christ, we do not have access to God. As Ephesians 3:12 states (NIV), “In [Christ Jesus our Lord] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
It’s all about Jesus. Therefore, Satan wants your life to be focused on anything but Jesus. If you want to enhance your joy and live with purpose, continue to seek to live a Christ-centered life.