December 23, 2021: I’ve Got the Joy!
“Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” (Neh. 8:10, NKJV).
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” What a wonderful promise God has given us. Unfortunately, there is a great misunderstanding that we have to straighten out to understand God’s gift correctly. We need to dispel the idea that joy is not dependent upon the situations and circumstances of life. A survey of the context of joy in the Bible reveals that it is very much dependent upon life situations. What’s important for us to recognize is that the joy God promises us is not just any joy: it is a joy that is “of the Spirit,” or, as Nehemiah called it, the “joy of the Lord.”
This is the joy, that, when set before Christ, caused Him to endure the cross, despising the shame. This is the joy Christians have that enables them to face various trials with a spirit of rejoicing. This is the joy that remains, regardless of outside circumstances, a joy that no one and nothing can take away, a joy that will grow and flourish until your entire life is full of it.
This joy—like all joy—is dependent upon circumstance. What makes this joy special is that it is only dependent on the active, interested, loving presence of Jesus—the very One who has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5, NKJV).
Father, thank You for the joy Your presence provides. Help me to abide in Your joy today and every day. Amen.
Jon K. Clayburn is the pastor of the Meridian Road, New Castle and Shenango Valley churches in Pennsylvania.