This is the first entry into my personal Bible study notebook on Christian joy.
Date of Entry: February 19, 2008
Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. – Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP)
My thoughts…This scripture is so key! That is one of the reasons that Satan tries so hard to steal our joy as Christians. It is why so many of us struggle with Christian depression and anxiety disorders. God has given us His joy to be our strength.
In the Greek, the original word they used for strength in that verse meant defense, force, fortress, strength, stronghold, and rock! Christian joy is supposed to be all of those things for me on a daily basis.
If Satan can get me to live a life without joy, it will inevitably be a life without the power to fight the good fight of faith.
The other key part that I’m seeing here is that true joy comes from the Lord. It says that the joy of the Lord is my strength. That should have been evident to me since joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, but I really hadn’t been thinking about how the connection relates to me personally.
Any joy that I try to create within myself is always going to be fleeting. I need to depend on my Heavenly Father to be my source of joy. This means I don’t have to beat myself up for not having joy. I need to stop and turn my eyes to God, seek His face, and receive a fresh infilling of His Holy Spirit and His joy.
This also emphasizes the importance of joy. Of all things, Christian joy is what God says is my strength. When I am denying myself the opportunity to enjoy my life, I am actually disarming myself against the enemy’s attacks. I am robbing myself of my ability to fight back by draining my “strength reserves.”
Of course, life can not be all fun and games, but there is definitely a such thing as balance!
Questions it brought to my mind…
- Why, of all things, does the Bible say joy is our strength?
- How exactly does it strengthen us?
- How can I safeguard myself to make sure I do not fall back into the trap of denying myself any joy and being totally out of balance?
My closing prayer…
Abba, Father, please help us all to understand the importance of Christian joy. Strengthen us with a fresh infilling of Your Holy Spirit and Your joy. Help us to rediscover Your joy in the simple things in life, and to experience it to the fullest.
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