The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Without it, we have no power to stand. Beloved, we must be on guard, because guilt and condemnation over sin absolutely destroy the joy of the Lord!

Many Christians are in this bondage right now. They fail to accept full and free pardon and believe they have no right to be joyful. Throughout Scripture, God pours out His oil of gladness on those who have learned to hate their sin and love His righteousness. That's what the Word says of Jesus: "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows" (Hebrews 1:9)

People who have laid down their sins and are walking with the Lord may have a struggle that is yet unsettled. But there is such a drawing toward the Lord in them, such a hunger, that the outcome is inevitable: they will have joy!

Suppose Jesus appears in the flesh, dressed as an ordinary man, and sits next to you. A wounded, defeated Christian, wearing a look of gloom, guilt, condemnation and fear, you fail to recognize Him as He begins to talk to you:

"Do you really love the Lord?" He asks.
You probably would answer, "Very much so!"
"You've sinned, haven't you?"
"Y-y-yes," you answer.
"Do you believe He forgives all who confess and turn from their sin?"
"Yes, but . . . I'm sorry, sir. I believe I've hurt my Savior, truly wounded Him."
"If you’ve confessed, why haven't you received His forgiveness??"
"I've done it so many times!"
"Do you believe He will forgive 499 times—each time you confess and repent?"
"Do you hate your sin? Do you still want Him?"
"Oh, yes!"
"Then why are you letting the devil rob you of the victory of the cross, the power of the blood of the Lamb? Why aren't you appropriating His joy and looking up?"

Beloved, don't quit and give up your joy in the Lord. You have a right to praise Him—to sing, shout and be happy in the Lord—because you have a Father who forgives!