The joy of The Lord is my strength. Neh. 8:10.
What is joy?
Webster’s Dictionary defines joy as “a feelings of great happiness” but there is something much richer and deeper from God’s word about the word. This is because joy is more of an “elevated and spiritual kind.”
Joy is of 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
God is our source of joy. He doesn’t only possess joy, he spreads it abroad. When he releases his joy in us, it moves like the working of his mighty power. A lot of people think that God is this angry, grumpy, always in a bad mood father. Quite frankly, it wouldn’t be a stretch to equate God to a “Happy God.” A few bible interpretors see the word “blessed” in 1 Timothy 1:11 as speaking of a cheerful and delightful God.
Joy is God’s will
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13. It is his will for us to serve with joy, have joy in difficult times and grow in joy.
Joy comes bursting out of salvation
Psalm 126:1-3: “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth were filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” Joy is a gift from God through salvation.
Joy comes from being with Him
“In his presence there is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Ps. 16:11. When we make time, to pray, worship and meditate on God’s word, we experience fullness of joy.
Joy is the fruit of God’s Spirit living inside us
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith – the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9. It’s a fruit that needs cultivating.
Joy is not happiness
2 Corinthians 7:14.
“I have confidence in you; I take great pride on your behalf. I am filled with encouragement; I am overflowing with joy in the midst of all our suffering.”
The word happy comes from the same word as happen. When things are going great, we are happy. Joy, however, no matter what’s happening – you still have it.
If the joy of The Lord is my strength, than the more joy I have the more strength I get. So how can I increase my joy so that I may become stronger?
By delight, not discipline
“The secret to finding joy in spiritual disciplines is focusing not on what we do, but on the one for whom we do it.” Mark J. Galli
By obedience, not sacrifice
“Holy joy will be the oil to the wheels of our obedience.” Matthew Henry
By Resting, not striving
“Come to me, cease from work, burdens will fly away, walk with me, learn the unforced rhythm of grace.” Brian Doerksen
By living for His glory, not satisfaction
“God is most glorified in you, when you are most satisfied in Him.” John Piper
By optimism, not pessimism
“A person who has the joy of The Lord in this life is strong in the battles of life.” Stephen J Cole
By waiting, not running
“It’s not in trying but in trusting, not in running but in resting, not in wondering but in praying that we find the strength of The Lord.” Lionel Harris
By a healthy diet, not junk food
“Your words were found and I ate them, and your word was to me joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Jeremiah the Prophet
By patient endurance, not a spirit of fainting
“Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds. The testing of your faith produces steadfastness that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James the Apostle
By putting others first, not one-self
“Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though they were his own” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
By embracing propitiation, not your own perfection
“It is hard work to make one-self look good before God. It’s a killjoy to attract his attention by doing good works. You will always leave feeling empty.” Max Hilton
By celebrating small things and not despising them
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran
By knowing what it means to have lack, not only what it means to have much
“I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Paul the Apostle
By being reasonable, not anxious
“Rejoice in the Lord always. In prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving seek God. His peace will guard your heart.” Paul the Apostle.
By keeping hope alive, longing for him, offering a sacrifice of praise, remember His goodness, not throwing a pity party
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you… When can I go and meet with God? Why are you downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him and remember you from the land of the Jordan.” The Sons of Korah