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
Why is it so important that we put ourselves in a position to receive joy from God? Because it is His joy that gives us strength! Keep in mind, joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes. True joy is a spiritual experience that occurs in our spirit or “gut”. Our joy comes from a deeply rooted belief that God is who He says He is and is faithful to do what He says He will do. Joy arises when we experience and receive His incredible, passionate love for us! When our joy comes from God (remembering He will never change, nor leave us or forsake us), nothing can take it away. Even in the midst of trial and heartbreak, our spirit can carry a level of joy deep within us. Just like a gas stove, even when it’s not on full blast the pilot light is always burning. So is our joy within us! It’s that joy that keeps us moving forward instead of staying stuck in grief, fear, resentment and confusion, because we know He has a plan for us and it is good. That is how His joy gives us strength to get through trials.
The enemy knows this! Why do you think he tries so hard to steal our joy away? If he can get us to focus on our circumstances and feed our fear, he knows he can steal our joy and therefore steal our strength. God says we are to focus on Him, His character, His goodness, His ability and His faithfulness. We are to meditate on these things. The more we meditate on them, the more our soul marinates in these truths and we come to put our full trust in them. And there is our joy! This is how we rejoice even in difficulties, because we know that we know that we know God is truly in control and has good things for us.
If your joy is waning today, be intentional this week about praising Him. Thank Him for what He’s done for you in the past and will do in the future. Spend time marinating in His goodness and meditating on His character. Start praising Him even if you don’t feel like it and your joy will increase!