Red Rocks Worship – “Not Afraid” Day Two (Devotional)

(Philippians 4:7)

“So I will not lose heart

Here I will lift my arms

And start to sing into the night

My praise will call the sun to rise

What a tenacious thing to sing. Can you imagine how discouraging it is to the enemy when, even in the midst of trials, we look fear in the eye and tell it what’s up?

Every time I sing it, it’s like a pep talk to my spirit; whatever I’m going through, it reminds me that fear doesn’t get to win.

That’s why this song is my fight song. I love its boldness and resolve. Every time I sing it, it’s like a pep talk to my spirit; whatever I’m going through, it reminds me that fear doesn’t get to win. I love this section of the second verse, especially the line “my praise will call the sun to rise.”

When it seems we’re completely defeated, at our lowest and last ebb, with more sorrow than we feel we can bear, this same complete joy is also our strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 proclaims that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Psalm 16:11 reminds us that in the Lord’s presence, there’s fullness of joy. FULLNESS of joy. Every single aspect of joy that we need is found when we’re spending time in the presence of our Savior. When it seems we’re completely defeated, at our lowest and last ebb, with more sorrow than we feel we can bear, this same complete joy is also our strength.

When we worship in the middle of the pain, we tap into this powerful joy… and Satan has no match for it.

Think about that for a moment: the very thing from which our flesh may want to run in the opposite direction when we’re hurting is actually the one thing we need most. I believe joy is one of our best and most underrated weapons against the devil in any spiritual warfare. When we worship in the middle of the pain, we tap into this powerful joy… and Satan has no match for it. When we remember who God is and choose to not lose heart; when we choose be stronger than the storm, because of the Lord’s joy that strengthens us; when we choose to lift our arms and by faith begin to tell the night, to tell that storm it doesn’t have the final say — our praise calls forth the victory.

Stuck with me forever are these words from my boss & pastor Shawn Johnson: “Joy wins. If joy has not yet come, it’s not the end.” In John 16, Jesus warns His disciples about some tough times they will come up against. In verse 20, He promises that their sorrow WILL TURN INTO JOY. He wraps up that chapter with verse 33: “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” The Message translation puts the first half of it this way: “I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.” Has our God not done enough to win our trust, no matter what we face? Is anything too difficult for Him? Have we forgotten that the Heavenly Father who’s close to the brokenhearted is the same Champion who conquered death and delivers us out of all our afflictions? (Psalm 34:18-19)

I know when God promises that His joy is my strength and that I’ll find it in all its fullness in His presence, it’s absolute truth.

I am living proof of all these verses mentioned above. I remember when I lost my daddy unexpectedly, it was the most unbearable pain I’ve ever experienced. Still, sometimes I can hardly wrap my brain around how much worship beautifully got me through his death, and still does to this day. I know what peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) looks like. I know when God promises that His joy is my strength and that I’ll find it in all its fullness in His presence, it’s absolute truth.

Before my dad passed, the Lord challenged me with this thought: never let the enemy steal your joy. Let that be the one thing he can’t touch. When my daddy passed away, this was my saving grace. It was like the situation was saying to me, “let’s see what you’ve got.” My daddy was my very best friend, and his death broke me, but I believe I’m stronger now because I daily choose joy. I fight for it.

Determine that no matter what the enemy throws at you, he cannot have your joy.

I pass on this same challenge to you. Determine that no matter what the enemy throws at you, he cannot have your joy. Keep it sacred. Choose it when it doesn’t make sense. Guard it when sadness wants to have the upper hand. It’s important and healthy to mourn and let out our emotions as they come. It’s vital to let the Lord pick us back up and still choose joy in the end.

God’s track record is perfect, and this alone should help us have unshakable joy. This alone should mean that even when we hurt, are tempted to worry, and are in the thick of the worst; underneath it all is a deeply rooted peace because we know who our God is. He never changes (Hebrews 13:8), which means we can always find a reason to praise. Believe that your praise is powerful and that it’ll bring forth your victory.

Take that, Satan.

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