1. FEAR. The Bible spared no expense in explaining that there are principalities and powers in this world. Witches, wizards, sorcerers and all kinds of dark magic abound. The ancestry of many people is so terrible that they find themselves stuck in the quagmire of pain and suffering, moving from one trouble to another. As a result, they are in a state of constant sorrow and you only need to take a single look at them to see the sadness in them. These people are either seen going from one mountain to another to pray vigorously and violently or wearing different protective rings, markings all over their bodies (gbéré), waking up at ungodly hours to offer rituals and recite long incantations. In the quest to break free from these shackles, they ensnare themselves. Hebrews 2:14-15 speaks of the liberation that Christ has provided for those who wish to be free from these fearfulness and bondage. 2Tim 1:7 says we have the spirit of Love, Power and Sound mind but not the spirit of fear. "We" being those who have chosen to be fearless; those who have access to the power that is available in the Name of Jesus Christ.
A king's guard in ancient Greek said "All men have fears, but the brave put down the fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory." The only One who is worthy of our fear (reverence) is the one who is capable of killing both soul and body. Among those listed for hell are the cowardly. Rev. 21:8 makes this clear. God has the power to save from death and in death. The three young Hebrew men understood this. They told King Nebula
that they believed God would deliver them from the fiery furnace. However, if He didn't, they said, they would not bow! In the end, they overcame and we're joyful.
2. HISTORY: Some people are so strung on the past that it empties them of the joys of the present. Past mistakes, broken relationships, failed marriages, opportunities lost are among the various things that keep them sad. You need to free yourself from these shackles. In 1Tim 1:15, Apostle Paul asserts: "Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever." (The Message Bible)
The truth is this: No matter how terrible your past may have been, know that some people have had a more terrible past. Yet, they had their turning points and eventually finished strong and joyful. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: "A man is not held responsible for the beginning of his life but for the end thereof."
I do not know and I do not need to know what your past may have been like. My concern is to make sure this past neither inhibits your present joy nor prevent you from experiencing future peace! Like Paul, forget the things that are past so you can see the future clearly and also enjoy the beauties of the moment. Phil. 3:13
3. POVERTY MENTALITY: A musician said: "Some people are so poor that all they have is money." Very few people in the world today have an abundance mentality. Many a people are up and about searching for security through wealth. As a result, they lose sight of the key to true security, that is, Benevolence. Proverbs 10:22 says the blessings of God makes rich and adds no sorrow to it. 1Timothy 6:9-10 posits " But if it's only money these leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after." (The Message Bible)
There is a spirit about money that makes it both a bastard and an adulterous woman. Do not let it ruin your life. You can never have enough of it. Why then, should your joy be dependent on having a lot of it?
Do not misunderstand this fact. Money is not evil in itself but man's mentality and attitude towards it makes it extremely dangerous. Do you want to experience real joy in your life? Give! Give cheerfully to those in need! Give without remembering! Show money you are the master here!
Now, here's an insight on giving. You should thank those who receive your gift more than they thank you, the giver. Did you just ask why? Read Acts of Apostles 20:35! You are more blessed than the receiver. So, you should show more gratitude. One of the fundamental reasons why you are instructed in the Bible to make a living for yourself is so you can help the weak and the poor. Deuteronomy 15:11 and Matthew 26:11 mentions that there will always be poor people in the land. That offers you the opportunity to receive God's blessings! Joy awaits you when you give generously. Break free from the poverty mentality and install an abundance mentality into your life.
Whatever might be an inhibitor of Joy in your life must be courageously approached and removed. Look within you and win that inner battle. It is then you will be able to live the abundant life God has ordained for you.
I wish Nigeria a free, fair and credible election come 14th February! Endeavour to exercise your franchise.
As always, I remain yours without dross!