Strength in Joy
"And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
The strength that comes from the joy of restored relationship with our heavenly Father is unlike any other strength we can find in ourselves. The joy of the Lord is unceasing, unwavering, and powerful. It comes from a place of internal peace with God rather than external, fleeting circumstances. And it is wholly available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. May we be a people marked by the joy of our heavenly Father as we allow God to come and fill our lives with his powerful presence today.
Nehemiah 8 gives revelation on God’s desire to establish joy at the foundation of following him. In Nehemiah 8, the nation of Israel had just rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem and were learning again what it is to live in obedience to the word of God. As Ezra opens God’s word, the people fall on their faces in mourning and shame for their disobedience. And in response to their tears, Nehemiah proclaims to God’s people, “Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). God desires for joy to be at the foundation of relationship with him. He longs for us to be a people marked by the joy that can only come from restored relationship with our Creator. His joy is to be our strength.
The true picture of strength in the earth is total joy that comes from dependence on our heavenly Father. Psalm 16:8-11 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” It’s only in utter dependence that the Lord is able to fully work in and through us. It’s only in setting him always before us that we will be fully strengthened by the joy that comes from relationship with him. And it’s only in continually seeking his presence that we will discover the fullness of joy and pleasure meant to be our portion as his children.
God wants to be your strength today. He wants to root and ground you in his unshakable joy. He longs to guide you to the still waters and do a mighty work in your heart to increase your capacity for his joy. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” May you discover the powerful medicine of joy today as you enter into a time of guided prayer.
1. Meditate on the strength that comes from joy alone. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to have more of the joy available to you in God.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
“Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:8-11
2. What care, thought, or burden is keeping you from the fullness of joy today? What area of your life do you need to surrender in order to live in total dependence on your heavenly Father? Where is God wanting to fill you with his abundant joy today?
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
3. Surrender every area of your life to the capable hands of God and enter into the joy that comes from dependent relationship with your Creator. Rest in his peaceful presence and allow him to fill you with joy overflowing. Ask him to guide you into a more joyful life and to free you from whatever bonds would keep you from experiencing all he has for you.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
May Paul’s prayer to the Colossians be your pursuit today as you seek to live in the fullness of life Jesus died to give you:
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” Colossians 1:11
Extended Reading: Nehemiah 8
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