Dwell in joy

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 

I think it’s common to hear the verse, “the Joy of the Lord is my strength,” but do we ever take the time to think of what that truly means? 

It seems as if joy is disappearing from our society. Depression, suicide and anxiety are the most-talked about topics; it seems as if everything…and everyone…have become burdened by a spirit of heaviness.

As someone who has always enjoyed listening to motivational speakers, I grew up with an understanding of the power of our thoughts and words. Our thoughts become our words, and our words translate into action, and as I’ve grown in the Word, I’ve found that teaching to be biblically sound: 

-“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”(Matt 12:34)
-“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) 

We were created to be both spiritual and physical. Yes, we are humans—we have fleshly desires, natural circumstances and issues of the world that we will always contend with—but we also have the ability to accept the Spirit of Jesus within us: the Holy Spirit. That spirit gives us the power and strength to surrender all forms of heaviness and opposition to God so that we can live victoriously. 

When the Bible refers to the “fruit of the spirit,” it’s talking about the gifts we’re given through the Holy Spirt to defeat everything that tries to stop us from living abundantly in Christ. Joy is one of those gifts. 

Joy isn’t simply being happy; for happiness is merely an emotion. (Which means it comes and goes with circumstances.) Joy on the other hand, is steadfast and spiritual. It resounds inside of you regardless of your circumstances. It anchors you to peace amidst any storm life throws your way, because it comes from an unshakeable God. Joy allows you to laugh without fear of the future and smile when you want to cry…because you know you are “to count it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3). 

Your challenge this week is to smile when you don’t quite feel like it or say something positive about a situation that looks impossible. Joy is your weapon, but you must take hold of it, first.  

[Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels]

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