– Helen Keller
The Joy of Overcoming
Just as there is sadness and repentance in falling into sin, there is great joy in overcoming sin. I have a good friend who battled with pornography for decades until he finally gave it up. Amazingly, when he stopped struggling, Christ gave him victory over this powerful stronghold. He cannot even express the joy that he found in overcoming this obstacle that for years robbed his joy.
The Joy of Holiness
When so many are blindly following the wide path to destruction, there are some who are choosing the narrow, difficult path. It’s like swimming upstream, but any old dead fish can float downstream. It takes great effort to swim against the culture, but that is exactly what Jesus asks us to do. Jesus commands us to “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt. 7:13). Did you get that? “Many” are walking the easy, wide path to destruction, but the narrow gate is narrow because few are going that way. Is that you, I pray?
The Joy of Obedience
Children disobey. It’s their nature, and it’s ours, too. But they have joy when they do something good, and we can give God joy when we do what He asks us to do. There was a consequence for Israel of not serving God in joyful obedience, which we read about in Deuteronomy 28:47-48: “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.” We rob ourselves of joy if we don’t obey but we can “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2)!
The Joy of Victory
Israel would often celebrate great victories, which were really God-brought victories. But the psalmist couldn’t contain himself after one great victory over the obstacle of huge enemies forces: “May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions” (Psalm 20:5)! It was “Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty” (Psalm 21:5). If we have trusted in Christ, we have victory over sin, though not yet sinless, but we can say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD” (Isaiah 25:9).
Helen Keller is exactly right. You and I will find joy in overcoming obstacles like the joy of overcoming strongholds in our life, living in holiness, having the joy of obedience and the joy of victory. Nothing can compare with overcoming obstacles, but we can do this only through Christ.