Do you struggle to be happy? Are you having trouble understanding the Joy of the Lord? God gives us the answer in His Word, the Holy Bible.
The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength
The Joy of the Lord is my Strength, The Joy of the Lord is my Strength, The Joy of the Lord is my Strength. Singing Glory Hallelujah!
Growing up, I just loved singing this song in church, at home, or in the car. To this day, I can recall all the words and, when asked, can promptly belch out a good rendition. I promise you the words still hold true today, even though my singing voice has changed. The difference in my age shows, but my mind remains young at heart.
This song is a glorious reminder of the gift God freely gives to His children. Obtainable in all circumstances.
Though there is a hiccup in our understanding, many believe true happiness will bring them great joy. Often, seeking material possessions to fill their bucket of happiness. These items collected through the world’s view of success or purchased goods.
Now, just so you know, there is a big difference between having the joy of the Lord and seeking happiness.
You may wonder; “Isn’t joy and happiness the same thing?”
This, my friend, is exactly where the confusion lies. We are going to take a trip through the Bible. Starting in Nehemiah, the basis of my favorite Sunday school song.
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.” – Nehemiah 8:10
Reminders of encouragement
Nehemiah, a leader of God’s people in the old testament, took on the task of building up God’s people and repairing the wall of Jerusalem after the Israelites returned from exile. He took on what seemed like an impossible task, faced with many oppressors, but God, during His journey, helped him to accomplish the path set out before him.
But before all this began, as a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah prayed. He did not complain or worry over how Jerusalem would be restored, he ran to God.
Then one day, while serving the King his wine, the King notices a difference in Nehemiah’s face. After talking with the King, he allowed Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem. His mission: to rebuild the wall. He left Susa with the King’s blessing and supplies. God answered his prayers.
During the rebuild Nehemiah, with the help from Ezra, began teaching from the book of the law of Moses (Torah) to the people. As they taught, God revealed the truth and a spiritual reform began. The Israelites, filled with encouragement and motivation, took on a new excitement. Nehemiah spoke about God and encouraged them not only to repent but to obey His laws. I find it encouraging that the people of the old testament needed reminders, just as we do today.
The people who were once happy to build the wall suddenly became depressed. The influential words from the oppressors taken to heart. As they listened, they lost their joy for the future.
Nehemiah recognized the change in attitude and quick responds with a pretty amazing speech (Nehemiah 4:14.)
The big take away:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3
When our focus shifts from heavenly promises to convincing opinions, our assurance waivers. It is very easy for us to listen to outside influences and lose sight of God’s word.
Scripture is our spiritual road map. It teaches us to do what is right and corrects us when we are wrong.
While our lifestyles differ from living in 440 BC, we still compete with the same noise. We live in an era filled with self-help books, self-promotion, self-actualization, and pursuing the motto “do whatever makes you happy.”
Our society provides us with cultivating information on fulfilling oneself with happiness. One very important lesson I have learned in my 43 years of life is that this world is filled with great disappointment. People will fail you, achievements will not triumph, and things, well… they just break. You can not rely upon or have hope in such things.
A change in focus
When we choose to follow God, our focus changes. We go from seeking happiness in this world to be filled with the Joy of the Lord. As Christians, our lives will be different. We no longer need to prove ourselves or feel unworthy.
It is through Him we find our strength and our joy.
You may ask, “how is this possible?”
Let’s look at John 15:9-11.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Did you know we can be happy people all the time, despite our circumstances? Yes, we can! And we can do it by giving complete attention to our Savior.
Through Jesus, our JOY is ever lasting.
Finding Joy of the Lord, in everyday circumstances
The joy of the Lord is a manifestation and gift from God. This gift allows us to know how deeply He loves us. Here are some steps you can take to further your relationship with Our Savior.
1. Focus on gratitude – Each day, give thanks for all His blessings.
2. Change your focus – Seek God’s word and not the words from this world.
3. Never give up – As we go through trials, we learn perseverance. Counting on God, who is our strength.
4. The power of prayer – Prayer is an act of worship. It glorifies God and reinforces our need for Him. When we lay down our cross of pain and discouragement, He picks it up for us.
When our happiness is low, we can surely stand firm in our faith, knowing God’s joy will bring us through the storms. Let’s continue to seek God humbly through our imperfections and rely on His grace, so we may be filled with HIS JOY!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for providing us with the firm foundation of your words through the Bible. Help us to seek you in all circumstances. Teach us to fill our hearts with your joy, despite what we may feel. I ask that you come into my life and remind me daily of your love and strength. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen!