Tag Archives: Fight Back with Joy

“Fight Back with Joy”

Last week, I mentioned a new book entitled, Fight Back with Joy. However, I did not get any farther than the title! 🙂 Today, I’d like to share a bit more with you about this book by Margaret Feinberg.

fight back with joyNot long ago, Margaret began focusing on joy as her “word of the year.” After several months of pondering and pursuing joy, Margaret learned that she had cancer. God had lovingly and wisely equipped Margaret with a new weapon before she entered the brutal battlefield of dealing with cancer.

Joy proved to be a formidable weapon, indeed. It was not always the emotional cheer that Margaret would have liked, but it was also deeper and more fierce than she had realized.

The book is easy to read, thought-provoking, and encouraging. Here are 12 quotes which I appreciated from Fight Back with Joy:

1. The Bible insists that joy is more than a feeling; it’s an action. We don’t just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us. (page 19)

2. What is the genesis of this joy? I believe that, at its core, joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us. (19)

3. The astonishing love of God found in the relational Dance of the Trinity is brimming with delight. (21)

4. You are founded in joy, created for joy, and destined for joy. Joy is where you come from. Joy is what you are created to experience. Joy is where you are headed. (23)

5. Joy is a far more dynamic, forceful weapon than most of us realize. The abiding sense that you are fiercely loved by God? That kind of joy empowers you to rise above any circumstance. (23)

6. [It is important] to mourn well. The process of mourning is like a long exhale. Expelling sorrow can feel like it’s emptying us of life, but it’s crucial to breathing joy more deeply. (72)

7. When we don’t allow ourselves to grieve well, something inside us dies. … We may not feel as much pain, but we also don’t feel as much joy. Our spiritual vitality depends on our ability to mourn the notable losses in life…. (79)

8. When done well, the tears of mourning become a river that washes away our pain, a holy stream carrying us toward healing, wholeness, and joy. (81)

9. [Celebration] is a discipline. Sometimes you have to will yourself to do it. (90)

10. Celebration is a discipline. But it’s also divine. (93)

11. Most days rejoicing didn’t make us feel better. Some moments buoyed our spirits, and laced us with smiles that attracted new friends. More often it opened the floodgates of tears. Joy is an action, something we can do, regardless of what our emotions may reveal. (107-108)

fight back with joy12. Like a fistful of red balloons, joy picks us up when life knocks us down. … Not only does joy enhance our stride in life, but it also shouts, “Look up!” (132)

God has overflowing joy for us. We can trust that. I agree with Margaret that our joy springs, first of all, from knowing that we are deeply, unfailingly loved by God. It then deepens as we know (experience) Christ more and more.

As C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” In other words, God is committed to joy! For believers, earthly life is preparation for entrance into our Master’s joy (Matthew 25:21). All of history is being shaped and funneled for the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11): God and His people will delight in one another without end.

How do you practice the discipline of joy? How do you grieve in healthy ways? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Blessings of joy to you,
Tami

(Click HERE for last week’s post, “Is Joy a Weapon?”)

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Is Joy a Weapon?

The word “fight” is what caught my attention.

Fight Back with Joy is Margaret Feinberg’s latest book.[i] As you may know, I am passionate about fighting on our knees for our marriages and families, and I am convinced that worship is a powerful weapon in spiritual battle. When I saw Fight Back with Joy, I was eager to consider joy as another important weapon.

But is joy really a spiritual weapon? As I pondered that question, I focused on Nehemiah 8:10: “The joy of the LORD is my strength.” My thinking followed these successive steps:

1. The word used here in Nehemiah for “strength” is maowz, which means “place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold” (Strong’s H4581). Maowz is sometimes translated as “fortress.” The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “LORD, you are my strength and fortress [maowz], my refuge in the day of trouble!” (16:19, NLT)

2. This means that the joy of the LORD is our refuge; it is a place of protection. In fact, the HCSB translates Nehemiah 8:10 like this: “Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”

When we let go of joy, we make ourselves vulnerable to the enemy.

3. So … if joy is a weapon, then perhaps it is a shield, which offers protection. Roman soldiers had shields which would completely cover them, protecting them from attacks above or from the side.

4. The apostle Paul said that our faith functions as a spiritual shield. Could joy be a part of our faith? It is! It is a core piece, just as metal was sometimes the core piece of a Roman shield.

Joy is the faith that God loves us passionately and personally, intensely and intimately. Joy is the faith that God will keep His covenant promises to us without fail. Our conviction that we can trust God implicitly is what protects us from the schemes of the enemy.

Joy is not an emotion, although it can be expressed as an emotion. Joy is something we do: joy is choosing to believe that God loves us.

Perhaps we can say that joy is like the inner layer of metal within an ancient shield, adding strength to the wood and leather.joy

5. If joy is a weapon, then it is a shield of defense. We can choose to keep ourselves within the refuge of joy, keeping our thoughts and spirits deeply sheltered within the love of Christ—a love that is so wide and long and high and deep that it covers us fully and endlessly (Ephesians 3:18).

6. In researching Roman shields, I learned that the ancient shield was not only defensive but also offensive. How interesting! In fact, some claim that the Roman shield was primarily offensive. It was actually used to punch the enemy. It was the Roman soldier’s “main weapon.”[ii]

So … if joy is a shield, then it is also offensive. I love that! We do not only protect ourselves through joy, but we also advance through joy. We come against the enemy—we overcome the enemy–when we practice tenacious joy.

Here is how we “punch the enemy” with a shield of joy:

We will believe that God loves us. (Pow!) We will believe that God is actively loving us right now in this situation. (Crash!) We will believe that God’s love in unfailing. (Wham!) We will believe that God’s love for us is perfect, wise, and powerful. (Boom!) We will believe that God withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him. (Smash!)

7. So … yes, I think that joy is a weapon. Our shield of faith, strengthened with a core of joy, is a powerful spiritual weapon. As we believe truth, including the truths of love which strengthen us with joy, we are well equipped for victorious battle.

Ann Voskamp puts it this way:

The joy of the Lord is your strength and the person of Christ is your unassailable joy – and the battle for joy is nothing less than fighting the good fight of faith.[iii]

Take up your shield of faith, with its strong core of joy, and watch God win!

 

[i]  Worthy Publishing. 2015.

[ii] http://web.utk.edu/~cohprima/scutum.html. Accessed 6-6-15.

[iii] http://www.aholyexperience.com/2015/06/when-you-want-to-thrive-instead-of-just-barely-survive/

(Shield) Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net