There is a song that we used to sing, “Give me joy in my heart, keep it burning, give me joy in my heart I pray, give me joy in my heart, keep it burning, keep it burning ‘til the break of day.” There are so many opportunities placed in front of us every day to lose our joy and a simple song like this one is a good prayer that the joy in us will not die. In many marriages, joy is either dying or has died a long time ago. Couples find themselves going through the motions of marriage out of duty but without the joy that God intended. The homes of these couples now become places where no-one wants to be. The children find excuses to be away from the home, either at friend’s houses or at numerous after school activities or worse still, hanging around on the streets. Husbands and wives immerse themselves in working long hours, social activities and church meetings. If the family happen to be home together, there is either silence or forced and polite conversation. This is not the picture that God wants to see, He created marriage to make our lives better and fulfilled. Neither is it the picture that these couples envisioned on the joyous day that they said ‘I do’.
Does this describe your home? If so, today is the day that your sorrow and suffering will end in Jesus Name. By applying the principles in this article, the joy that was once in your home will come alive again in Jesus Name. If on the other hand, there is still joy in your home, thank God but it is not time to be complacent, keeping joy alive is an active and daily responsibility.
There are some practical steps that we can take to ensure that the joy in our homes are revived or kept alive:-
2. Fight for it!
If you have lost it, reclaim it and if you have it, keep hold of it! Many of us are too passive when it comes to our Christian walk. When things are going wrong in our home, it is wise not to look at only the physical causes but to realise that the spiritual realm controls the physical. There is likely to be a spiritual battle behind the situation you are facing. John 10:10 says: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The devil constantly seeks to steal our joy because his main desire is to break our fellowship with God. When we have no joy, we feel empty, listless and find it almost impossible to praise God and fellowship with Him which was why we were created. Not only does the enemy want to steal your joy but that of your spouse, children and extended family. Nehemiah 4:14 says “Do not be afraid of them, remember the Lord, great and awesome and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your house.” How do we fight? In Genesis 6, Noah built an ark to protect his family; we too need to build an ark for our family. We need to fill our homes with prayer, the word of God and love which are three of the greatest weapons we have. For example, Proverbs 31 tells us about the spiritual life of the virtuous woman. Verse 18b states that ‘her candle goeth not out by night’. In other words, spiritually, she never rests, she is always vigilant. The Amplified Bible says: “her lamp goes not out but it burns on continually through the night (of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt and distrust.)” This scripture was not only referring to a physical night but a spiritual night where serious prayer was needed to banish every sorrow from the home. We too should pray this kind of prayer and we should decree everlasting joy in the place of sorrow (Isa. 35:10). We should also take time every morning to cover every member of the family with the Blood of Jesus and ask for a hedge of protection around them. By doing this, the eyes of the enemy will be blinded towards them so that no sorrow will be brought to our homes through accidents or ill heath. We also need to stand on the word of God and find scriptures concerning the situation that is stealing our joy and speak them over our lives and families in faith. Lastly we should walk in love at all costs. Love is a mighty weapon of warfare as it covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). If you love each other with the unconditional love of God, you will be likely to overlook a lot of things that could steal your joy.
2. Keep the Presence of God in Your Home
In God’s presence there is fullness of joy (Psa. 16:11). Therefore to experience joy, we need to remain in His presence. Once we step out of Him we step out of joy! We can read in 2 Samuel 6:11-12 about the story of Obed-Edom. The Ark of the Covenant, (the presence of God) stayed in his house for three months and the whole household was so blessed that David went back to retrieve the Ark for himself! The presence of God will only feel welcome in our homes when we are living in an atmosphere of love and peace. To maintain peace, we need to kick out strife. The majority of conflicts arise from misunderstanding or miscommunication, therefore to communicate effectively with each other in a way that will glorify God, even in the midst of disagreements. We should also make our homes a tabernacle of praise. This can take the form of singing praises or even just talking positive about the life that God has given us instead of complaining. It is also a good idea to play Christian music in the home always either on CD or radio online. It is more difficult to exchange insults during an argument if worship music is playing in the background!
3. Choose to Find Happiness in Simple Things
You may feel that the problems you are facing need big solutions before you can experience joy again. However your joy is dependent on your reaction to situations not situation themselves. To rediscover joy or to keep it alive, learn to appreciate the simple things in life while you work on sorting out the bigger issues; go for a walk at midnight with your spouse to admire the moon together, share a tub of ice-cream, play games with your children, or watch them play in the park. Appreciate and enjoy the moments as every minute with your spouse and children is a moment that God gave you so be thankful for it and never take it for granted.
4. Express Your Love For Each Other Daily. Life can become a routine where we go about our business without really letting each other know how we much we appreciate being married. Do you make your spouse and children feel like they are in your way or do show them that you are happy to be a spouse and parent? Imagine the joy in a home where everyone is walking in love and complimenting each other. Some might say “we know that we love each other so why must I say it all the time.” or “we know we love each other why do I have to prove it all the time? As human beings we all like demonstrations of love and it brings us joy therefore we should sow this seed into our family remembering that if you want to reap love, you need to sow love!
5. Always Try To See the Funny Side. At times we don’t feel like smiling never mind laughing, however laughter really is the best medicine. There is almost always a humorous side to a situation if you choose to see it. Be careful not to make a joke out of everything but if you can both laugh over it, why not? Often in the middle of a tense situation, one spouse can do something that they know will make the other smile and this will diffuse the situation.
Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Notice that it says the ‘joy of the Lord’, not simply ‘joy’. There is a difference between earthly joy (based on material goods and situations we face) and heavenly joy (based on our relationship with God and enjoying the gifts He has given us). If we look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, His joy will be the strength that will hold our families together. Let us guard this joy, treasure it, cultivate it and it will never stop burning in our homes again!
By: Andrea Onduku
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