I’ve been pondering joy these past 18 years.
For the first 16 years of my Christian life the verse that God used to teach, challenge, encourage and guide me was:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!
Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
But about 1996 He touched my heart with the concept of joy and the incredible power and gift it is in the life of the believer. He showed me Nehemiah and I want to share just a very few quick thoughts about that right now.
If you haven’t read Nehemiah in awhile, you should. I love that guy! He’s leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity and Ezra finds the books of the Law. He reads it from sun up until midday while everyone stands and listens. The people are so devastated to hear the Law (that they have not been following while in captivity the past 70 years) that they fall on their faces and grieve. Nehemiah comes to them all and tells them not to grieve! They should go and have a holy barbeque, sharing their abundance with their neighbors who have nothing because this is a holy day to the Lord.
“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh 8:10
- joy gives us strength (Ne 8:10)
- joy is powerful (1 Kings 1:40)
- joy gives glory to God (Job 38:7)
- joy is a result of being with God (Ps 16:11)
- joy follows discipline with repentance (Ps 30:5)
- God IS our joy (Ps 43:4)
These are just a very few verses that point us to having hearts, spirits and voices filled with joy and the POWER that joy brings to us.
The enemy is a thief and destroyer…he cannot steal our faith but he tries to steal our joy. He cannot rob us of our salvation, but he seeks to make us ineffective through fear, self-pity, grumbling. But when we CHOOSE joy, we open the flood-gates for the Spirit’s power to give strength and peace that is beyond the understanding of the world and its ruler. We get to experience that the joy of the Lord IS our strength!
CHOOSE JOY TODAY!
All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.