“The battle in your life is against your joy.”
I do not know who first spoke these words. John Eldredge uses them in his book ‘Walking With God’, but does not give a specific credit to the woman who first said them. Their lack of source doesn’t detract from their truth.
The words sprang back into my head today as I spoke with a friend about pornography addiction, lust, and the war those things wage against our hearts. As the phrase came to mind, a new thought struck me. Satan attacks men in the part of our hearts which care about women because for the majority of men they are such a great source of earthly joy.
It’s also important to note that I’m not specifically referring to sex either. I have never had sex and don’t have a girlfriend. It still brings me joy to hang out with women and interact with them.
If I’m ever leaning towards hanging out with just dudes, it’s probably because I want to play Halo.
Women bring us so much joy because they represent the crescendo of creation. Great artists always save the best for last and Eve was the final piece of God’s masterpiece in Genesis. Mountains, sunsets, and animals can bring us joy, but none of them beat a fun and engaging conversation with a woman.
I don’t even have to be romantically interested in them to experience a great deal of joy because of their company. They do great things like ask questions which go below the surface level, express sympathy, and give little compliments. Even if God called me to a life of celibacy, I would continue to keep women as friends because of the joy they bring into my life.
Satan knows about this joy even better than we do. It’s a source of strength and encouragement which he wants to destroy. He doesn’t have to take it out of the picture entirely though, he just has to pervert it in our minds.
Recently, I spoke with a base jumper whose jumped over 2,000 times. That’s an incredible number of jumps for a base jumper. I asked him for the secret of base jumping just out of curiosity and he said the secret was to do it for yourself.
He said if you jump to impress people or be cool, then you’re going to miss the point of the whole thing. If your motivations change the way we see something or someone, then we miss out on the full experience of joy. This applies to appreciating the joy of spending time with women.
If we see them as objects meant for our viewing pleasure or physical gratification, then we will not get to experience the true joy which comes from their company. While I understand most guys don’t see women just in this light, our objectification of them impacts us more than we think. Objectification isn’t something we can just switch off and on depending on the woman in front of us.
If we transition from perusing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, something every guy should avoid, to talking with a female friend, a part of our mind will pull us towards objectifying them. I know this from years of experience. It’s frustrating and confusing to talk with a woman whose your friend and feel the magnetic pull of objectification begin in your mind.
The worst part was when I doubted if I could ever have a casual conversation with a woman without feeling this pull. This doubt brought a powerful discouragement into my life because I thought it might cut me off from enjoying pure fellowship with half of Christendom. Along with that, I wondered if I would ever get to experience the full joy and peace of spending time with women without the distraction of objectification.
I’m happy to report that God has brought both of those gifts into my life. This didn’t happen without discipline, humility, and effort though. I had to own up to how I lusted after women even after I stopped looking at porn. Furthermore, I had to fight against this lust and discipline myself to avoid the things which lead up to it.
Even though it’s a difficult and daily battle, it’s more than worth it. Just spending time with a woman and not feeling the pull to objectify her opens up my heart to incredible fellowship and joy. God made our hearts to enjoy His incredible gifts and we’re missing out on one of the greatest gifts if we don’t experience pure fellowship with Christian women.
Our hearts need the joy from these gifts in order to keep fighting the battles in our daily lives. Satan knows we falter and stumble without joy. He is bent on blocking every possible source of it.
What can you do to fight for the joy in your life? Do you tend to see people as objects? Do you miss out on the joy of pure fellowship with others? What can you do to take ground in that battle?
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