Overcoming the Joy-Stealers
In Corner 1 of the Joy Room we learn how to see the beauty in ourselves and celebrate who God made us to be! The greatest obstacle to joy is not having joy in ourselves. It is like coming to a party and sitting in the corner instead of having fun and enjoying it. Jesus wants us to get out of the self-analysis room where you are criticizing and critiquing yourself. God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in who we are in Him.
ELIJAH AND THE JOY STEALERS
One time I dreamed of Elijah and his victory in 1 Kings 18. Then I saw him fall before Jezebel because he had an orphan spirit of rejection: he felt he was alone. There was a demon spirit of negation covering Elijah and speaking in his ear. The demon was trying to keep him from his sonship and calling. It was intense; this demon did not want him to experience the God of Delight, who hoped in him.
Elijah did not know how to gain access to this Delight and Hope. He needed to turn his eyes to God and magnify God. Elijah was having a dramatic, personal, and painful experience. God wanted to hold his face and tell him, “Your beliefs are wrong. You and I are going to overcome these Joy Stealers together. There’s no power in focusing on the wrong-- only one thing matters and that is your devotion to Me.”
It was a marvelous invitation Jesus was giving Elijah, that He's also giving us: to defeat this tormenting spirit by taking every thought captive that stands against the knowledge of God, and cast it down! Jesus came to Elijah in His Passionate Pursuing Love, the Fiery Hot Love of 1 Peter 10!
He then told Elijah that Elijah’s problem was that he had never tasted joy. Joy is a taste, a smell, a feel, when all your five senses become golden. And the only way they do this is through joy. Elijah had never listened to the Lord for the Lord’s long-term view. He had only listened to the present battle he was engaged in. Then the Lord told Elijah how he felt about him, that Elijah was the apple of God's eye. (Psalm 17:8).
God has such a great and caring personality. God had a crown He wanted to put on Elijah. It was the Luke 9 Crown filled with the Authority of the Joy of His Presence. You are like Elijah; Elijah was a man just like us. God wants a supernatural encounter with you too, to heal you of negation and bring you into His delight and the enjoyment of His calling.
When God did this for me, I cried. Jesus told me to rebuke the spirit of negation, and then I would see His delight. After I did this, I saw 3 groups of people standing by me. Group 1 was those who were waiting for me to just be myself, to be Bob Hartley. Group 2 was those who would never understand, and that was ok; I had to be ok with that. Group 3 was the Proverbs 17:17 people. They would love me well, even when I couldn’t love myself.
Jesus then told me to cut off the doors of access from Joy Stealers. As I saw who some of those were in my life, Jesus said, "I could care less what they think, as long as you are adoring Me." This is so powerful and freeing. Jesus is saying there is a way for you to care for these people's hearts well without drawing back from your discovery of Him and you calling.
THE RING AND ROBE. Do you know that you belong? Everyone longs to belong, and
belonging comes before you believe. One time God said to me, "I live inside of you; I come running after you and I have given you an identity in Me that goes beyond any situation. I came running after you with a ring and a robe when you were on the prodigal road, and I will always come running after you when you are on the prodigal road. Don’t you realize this is who I am to you? You belong to me. I am the one who came to bear your sorrows; I delight over who you are to Me."
Jesus came to reveal God as the Father, not as the lawgiver. Because we're His children, we belong to Him. He says, "You are to be on the offensive because of the authority I have given you." This means that anytime shame comes, or the enemy comes to destroy, Jesus gives you His joy – your authority is in His joy.
As you begin to put this into practice, you will experience your emotional chemistry start to change. God will not leave you in this situation until you have joy over Him. He will also give you back your sense of humor, which is the greatest character attribute you gain during a valley season. When I was working on this myself, God told me to enter into childlike joy, humor, and fun because it would show Him that I trusted Him in all things--and that righteous behaviors would manifest as a result. He said, "It’s time to walk away from being sour-pusses and be hopeful and confident in My Joy!"