THE JOY OF THE LORD
Often in this world we are told to choose joy, but what does that even look like? What does it really mean to choose joy? What even is joy?
Joy is an inward feeling as opposed to happiness which is an outward expression. Happiness happens to us, but joy happens within us. So, if we are told to choose joy, that means we must choose what dwells within us. The only thing that can bring this true and pure joy, is the Holy Spirit. Instead of “choosing joy” we must let joy be within us.
Even when we face hard times in this life and may not have “happiness” (what happens to us), we will always have joy if we allow the holy spirit to live inside of us. Let us look into Nehemiah chapter 8. In this chapter of the bible, the people of Judea at the time, had just come to understand God’s law through the priest Ezra and others. After hearing the law of God, the people felt sorrowful for their sins and began weeping and mourning because they feared that they may have been too far gone. However, Nehemiah, the appointed governor at the time, said to them in Nehemiah 8:9, “’This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.” Verse 10 goes on saying “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It is amazing to serve a Lord who wants to fill us with his joy! Even in the saddest moments in the lives of those people, the Lord wanted to fill them with His joy. The best part is that the same God they served even thousands of years ago, is the same god we serve today. He wants to fill you with His joy! The joy that the Lord fills us with will give us strength. Strength to make it through the hardest moments of our lives.
Even when we inevitably face trials in this life, we still have access to the joy of the Lord. He is faithful to fill us with the fruits of the spirit when we seek Him in our trials. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can overflow peace and joy into others. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Let us use this overflow to show others how truly faithful the Lord is. Let others see the joy He gives to us. Never forget, that in the presence of the Lord there is a fullness of joy. A joy like no other.
Prayer or journaling topic: What is an area of your life where you need to let the fullness of God’s joy into your life? Let God in and ask him to fill you with joy in that specific area of your life.
Further study: Read though Nehemiah 8