Stop doing these things, they will destroy the joy of your salvation. You may think grace gives you liberty to do these things, but they will not help you grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you keep doing these things long enough, you won’t grow in your faith, then you will become stagnant, and then stale, and eventually, you will stink.
- Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17)
- But don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh (Gal 5:13)
- So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil (1 Peter 2:16)
- Don’t let your freedom become a stumbling block to the weak (1 Cor 8:9)
Stop being selfish and self-centered
The catchphrase of the pseudo-psychiatric psychobabble of the last century was “know yourself.” It caught on and now we have a whole generation who are focused on finding themselves. Now it’s called “centering yourself,” and there are even exercises to learn how to do it: breathing like it matters, feeling your feet, attending to your navel, thanking your heart, focusing your awareness on your “third eye”, observing your ego, and finding stillness. The Christian should find this abhorrent and revolting because it denies God. Instead, the Christian should remember the acronym J-O-Y, the way to spell joy is Jesus, others, and you.
- If you live only for pleasure, your spiritual life will die (1 Tim 5:6)
- The sin of Sodom was arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, and they did not help the poor or needy (Ezek 16:49)
- Live by the Spirit, with your mind on things of the Spirit (Rom 8:6)
- Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought (Rom 12:3)
- Set your sights on the reality of heaven, with Christ (Col 3:1)
- Fix your eyes on the eternal things of the future (2 Cor 4:18)
- “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Stop being lazy and slothful
Even though our lives are made easier every year with robots and automation, the word “slothful” isn’t common any more. It used to be considered one of the seven deadly sins. Nowadays, people refer to themselves as energy efficient instead of lazy. They chill instead of procrastinate their lives away. They complain about vitamin deficiency instead of getting up and working. But, Christians should never be lazy or slothful because they have the same power in them that raised Jesus Christ from the grave. The Christian life is an active life. Therefore, you should be motivated and active in your faith, home, school, and work.
- If you know what you ought to do, it is a sin to not do it (James 4:17)
- Obey your employers as servants of Christ because you fear God (Col 3:22)
- Do something useful with your own hands so you can share with those in need (Eph 4:28)
- Do your own business, and work with your own hands (1 Thess 4:11)
- Don’t sleep during the day, but remain awake and sober (1 Thess 5:5)
- The same power that raised jesus from the grave works in us (Eph 1:20)
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. (Prov 24:30-34)
Stop being envious and covetous
Ever since the beginning when Cain looked at Abel’s flocks and was jealous enough to kill him and lie to God about it, mankind has never been satisfied with what they have. This striving for bigger and better has created civilizations and inventions for the greater good. But, individually, it can eat you out from the inside, when you realize that life is not fair, as you compare what you have to what everyone else has. But, the sooner you understand that life is not fair, the sooner you can be freed from jealousy. For a better perspective, consider the Jesus Christ, the son of God, with majesty and glory, became the sinless lamb of God, was sacrificed on the cross for the penalty of your sins, to give you the life that he deserved.
- Bitter envy and selfish ambition are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic (James 3:14)
- Desiring to have things will cause wars and fightings among you (James 4)
- Don’t exploit each other in lustful passion because the Lord will avenge (1 Thess 4:5)
- Abstain from the desires of the flesh, which was against your soul (1 Peter 2:11)
- Where your treasure is there will your heart be also (Matt 6:21)
- Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt 6:33)
- Your Father knows what you need (Luke 12:30)
Stop whining and complaining
Whining and complaining is really just the outward expression of an envious and covetous heart. We all know someone who is a consummate (highly accomplished by much practice) whiner. They aren’t fooling anyone. They’re really just expressing their jealousy. Don’t be that person. Instead, start counting your blessings and start expressing your gratefulness and happiness. You will be amazed at how much everyone around you is nicer..
- Out of the abundance of the heart spring the issues of life (Prov 4:23)
- Words of the mouth come from the heart and defile you (Matt 15:18)
- Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45)
- For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved,
but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Cor 10:18)
The things written long ago were written for our learning (Rom 15:4; 1 Cor 10:6), so read about the times the children of Israel grumbled and complained against Moses (which was really against God) in the wilderness. It didn’t end well for them. It won’t end well for you either:
- Complained about food (Ex 16:2)
- Complained about water (Ex 17:2)
- Would rather have died in Egypt (Num 14:2)
- Complained about judgement (Num 16:41)
- Quarreled with Moses (Num 21:5)
Stop gossiping and backbiting
Nothing will kill the joy of an entire group faster than gossiping and backbiting. It almost destroyed the entire congregation in Corinth. The Apostle Paul cautioned against this behavior in almost all his letters. And, years later, James the brother of Jesus, warned against it.
- There are quarrels, contentions, and rivalry among you (1 Cor 1)
- I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, rage, rivalry, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder (2 Cor 12:20)
- But reject foolish and ignorant speculation, for you know that it breeds quarreling. (2 Tim 2:23)
- Speaking evil about one another intrudes into God’s realm (James 4:11)
- A gossip separates close friends (Prov 16:28)
- He who repeats a matter separates intimate friends (Prov 17:9)
- The words of a talebearer are as deep wounds (Prov 18:8)
- Where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down (Prov 26:20)
- Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phil 4:8)
Stop being wild and excessive
One of the first symptoms of someone with a guilty conscience is fear of quietness and aloneness. This is why solitary punishment is the worst punishment for hardened criminals in prison. But, God gave you a conscience for a reason. He intended you to exercise your conscience and listen to your conscience. The easiest way to keep that from happening is to fill your life with loud noisy wild living. When you succeed in crowding out the quietness and aloneness to keep from hearing your conscience, you also will crowd out God and destroy the joy of your salvation. So, stop doing that. Make time to be alone with God through daily devotionals, having fellowship with fellow-believers at church, and spending quality quantity time with your family.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:11-14)
For you have spent enough time in the past carrying out the same desires as the pagans: living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry. Because of this, they consider it strange of you not to plunge with them into the same flood of reckless indiscretion, and they heap abuse on you. (1 Peter 4:3-4)
Stop making excuses for your sin
I know a guy who has a reputation for one-thousand-and-one excuses. Everything always goes wrong. Everyone else is to blame. Nothing is ever his fault. He bludgeons his friends with his excuses. Whereas the truth is almost all his problems are caused by his pride, his anger, his stubbornness, and the hardness of his heart. These are all sins that cause terrible problems. These will destroy the joy of your salvation and the joy of everyone around you. But, thank God, Jesus Christ can help with problems even this complicated.
- God told Cain that his behavior was due to sin in his life (Gen 4:7)
- Your conscience is a law written in your heart: accusing or defending (Rom 2:15)
- Do not let sin control your mortal body (Rom 6:12)
Stop covering up your sin
This is one of the worst joy killers because your conscience will constantly accuse you. You may be able to hide from others and escape from their judgement, but you can’t hide from yourself. Everywhere you go, there you are. To the ends of the Earth. In the middle of the night. To the pit of hell. What’s worse, trying to hide from God will separate you from him and destroy the joy of your salvation. Stop doing that, get right with God, confess your sin, repent of your sin, and forsake your sin. Apologize to those you have hurt and make restitution.
- He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion (Prov 28:13)
- I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51)
- When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long. (Psalm 32)
- Be sure your sin will find you out (Num 32:23)
- Some sins are so obvious they get judged now,
but some sins are hidden for a while and get judgment later (1 Tim 5:24)
- If we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9)
Stop sinning knowingly and willfully
Nothing will kill the joy of your salvation faster than separating yourself from God’s fellowship even for a moment. Sin separates us from God. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. All of humanity in the days of Noah. Israel in the wilderness. And, on the cross, Jesus Christ was separated from God the Father when he took upon himself the penalty of your sins and cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:24) Every time you sin, it separates you from the fellowship of God. Even though you can’t lose your salvation, you can lose everything else.
If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume all adversaries. Anyone who rejected the Law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think one deserves to be punished who has trampled on the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age— and then have fallen away—to be restored again to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:11-24)
The answer is always Jesus Christ
If you are guilty of any of these behaviors and they are destroying the joy of your salvation, the answer is to return to Jesus Christ and ask for his help. All of these behaviors are under your control. They are your choice. You can continue to behave this way and continue to destroy the joy of your salvation. Or, you can repent from these behaviors and ask God to help restore the joy of your salvation.
- Put iniquity away from you (Job 11:14)
- God pardons iniquity and forgives transgressions (Micah 7:18)
- The LORD does not stay angry forever (Jer 3:12)
- If we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9)
- 7 ways to restore the joy of your salvation
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