© Rosemary Bardsley 2016


[Alternate: Where has all the joy gone? Answer #3: Swept away by the winds of the world]


Psalm 4:7 [NEB]: 'The joy that you have given me is more than they will ever have with all their corn and wine'

The world around us is filled with attitudes and isms that undermine faith in God. These mindsets and worldviews that surround us subtly influence us and slowly but surely, if we are not careful, erode, corrode and diminish our joy.

What are these influences?

A. Anti-supernaturalism

In this mindset

there is no god or any supernatural power

there are no miracles

there is no resurrection

there is no heaven or hell

there is no sin or salvation

there are no absolute moral values

Jesus is only a man

the Bible is not the word of God


B. Secular Humanism

This dominant ism:

Believes there is no god.

Believes humans are capable and responsible for their own destiny and salvation

Believes religion is harmful

Believes there is no life after death

Believes there are no absolute moral values - 'ethics' is autonomous and situational

Exults human reason and human intelligence

Believes in individual freedom of choice, including sexual freedom - nothing is evil in itself

Believes in a full range of civil liberties

Promotes one-world government.


C. Postmodernism and nihilism

As the logical flow-on of secular humanism, postmodernism/nihilism end up in -





D. Materialism

For biblical examples:

The parable of the rich fool.

The rich young ruler.

In the church:

Prosperity teaching

Demanding wealth and health from God

Healing in the atonement

Society's influence:

Must have bigger and better

Can't do without

Luxuries are common fare

No concept of economy

Must keep up with the Jones's

Our children mustn't do without

All of this sweeps away our joy.


E. Hedonism

"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."

Basic concepts:

If it feels good, do it.

If it makes you feel good, it's right.

Pleasure is the ultimate good.

Pleasure seeking.

Thrill seeking.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon sought satisfaction [meaning, purpose] in

Wisdom and knowledge



Hard work





He found that it was all like chasing the wind.


Our society is filled with hdeonists, and so are our churches.

In religious hedonism we find people:

Seeking religious thrill feelings

Seeking ecstatic experiences

Not satisfied with the solid truth of the Word.

Church-hopping and church-shopping, trying to find one that 'gives a buzz'.


The Joy of the Lord:

All of these influences subtly penetrate our minds and undermine and sweep away our joy - the joy the Lord has given us.


We must not let ourselves be fooled.

None of these isms is right.

All are from the enemy.

Some may for a time appear to give a certain joy - but is is a short-lived joy.


The joy the Lord gives us is one that stands in contrast to all of these isms:

[1] It is the joy of trust and confidence in an almighty God whose every word can be relied on completely.

[2] It is the joy of knowing the true God who is good: loving, merciful and forgiving, intent on our salvation, not our destruction.

[3] It is the joy of knowing that I do not stand alone: rather, I was created to reflect the glory of my Creator for ever.

[4] It is the joy of being content: 'though the fig tree does not bud ... yet I will rejoice in the LORD. I will be joyful in God my Saviour - the Sovereign LORD is my strength' [Habakkuk 3:17-19].

[5] It is the joy of having found peace and satisfaction in Christ in the midst of a pleasure craving, thrill seeking world, where increasingly there is no meaning and no hope.


This joy that God has given us is more ... more than anything the isms of the world can offer.

Let us resist their inroads into our lives. Let us deny them the power and the right to diminish our God-given, Christ-centred JOY.