JOY STEALERS – Part 1
Cognitive Distortions – Christian Style!
We can all agree that we are redeemed, and in that alone we are called to rejoice!
How easy it is to conceptualize this simple truth and how hard it is to apply this to our daily lives. Often, what blocks our joy is the way we think about situations. Unbeknownst to us we trade the truth for a lie and our thinking becomes distorted. Certainly, we don’t do this on purpose, it is a subconscious act due to habit In Hebrews 12, Paul instructs us to “…brush aside those sins that cling to us so that we can run toward Jesus Christ without distraction”.
Isiah 61:10 – “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels”.
Romans 5:11- “And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation”.
Here are 2 very common distortions that cling to our thinking and rob us of the joy, aka “joy stealers”, and the full life that Christ so freely offers us.
Anne hasn’t attended church regularly for years. In the past she had a negative experience with some women in a Bible study; now she refuses to invest her time in church because people who go to church are “fake”.
If you notice in this dialogue Anne is using one negative experience that involved a few people and has generalized it to the entire universal church. This limits her opportunities to become an active member of any church body, and works to keep her in a state of isolation. Anne does not have the blessing of benefiting from the gifts of others and she is robbing others from benefiting from her gifts. This is why Paul states so plainly in Hebrews 10:25 “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching”
All or Nothing Thinking
Mark spent a lot of time in prayer before choosing a career path, in his heart all he wanted to do was honor God through his career. Mark applied for three internships and all three organizations chose other applicants. Mark is left feeling like a total failure and now doubts his career decision. He believes by being rejected, he has made a big mistake and now regrets his decision to pursue his current path.
One thing didn’t go as Mark planned and now he is ready to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. His “all or nothing thinking” limits his capacity to embrace unpleasant experiences or the courage to persevere through trials. Mark realizes that good things come from the hand of God. However, he has forgotten that trials come from the same hand of the same loving God. James 1:2-4 tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”.
Strengthen that Spiritual Muscle
These two thinking patterns are very common. Notice if you fall into either of these patterns or both of them.
- Realize that this is a sin which so easily clings to you. This type of sin clings to you, you don’t choose it.
- Practice brushing off these sins by realizing your thinking pattern is creating lies and replace them with the truth of Scripture.
- Rejoice! Your sins are forgiven.
- Have courage and rejoice.
Visit again next month as we discover more thinking patterns that Steal Our Joy.