Joy From Within
Some people never laugh unless they’re listening to something funny, but true joy is inside you. Having received the Holy Spirit, God expects you to generate joy and excitement from within.
Then he said unto them, “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
We don’t just do things for the Lord, we live our lives in Him, with Him, and by His strength . . . to honor Him with the submission of our will for His. He is our strength. Nehemiah’s name means, “Yahweh has compassion.” Starting off as a cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah’s close proximity to the king eventually led to his leading the restoration of Jerusalem. Biblically, Nehemiah was illustrating the inward faith that we now know as a relationship with Christ, versus an outward expression in reverence to the Lord. He knew a true expression of worship came from a deeper motivation than outward appearance. In the same way, God forgives us on the same deep and intimate level. It doesn’t end at our heartfelt sacrifice and repentance. He ushers in true change and a heart shifted to the seat of joy. Joy from His strength erases guilt and shame, and the death we deserve for our sin.
What is the Joy of The Lord?
The joy of the Lord is found on the road to restoration. God convicts us of sin, and often our first reaction is guilt and shame. But those feelings never come from God. Ezra the scribe gathered all the people. He read to them from God’s book and skilled ministers explained the words and their meaning to the people. Nehemiah 8:8 says, “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”
Once the people understood, really understood, they wept. God’s Word was opening their eyes to the way they had failed Him, but Nehemiah was quick to remind them of who the Lord is. “They could delight in the joy of the Lord because he is a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate,”
Always learn to release joy from inside you. Never allow anything take away your joy. Our opening verse says, “…the joy of the LORD is your strength. ”It’s not talking about the joy you get when you receive some good news or when something you’ve been expecting pulls through for you; no, it’s the joy of the Lord! That joy comes from the Holy Ghost; it comes from the Word. And you’ve got to express it because as you do, the power is released and your challenges bow.
In the midst of trouble, in the midst of dire challenges, release joy from within. As you do, the challenges will crumble before you; if you’ve lost your joy to circumstances of life, it’s time to take it back.
What Is Nehemiah Trying to Tell Us about How We Should Live?
Nehemiah was not only concerned with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He was passionate about restoring the hearts of the people. Just as we scroll through modern-day social media with the knowledge there is more to a life than what we are able to see, so Nehemiah knew true joy and restoration could only come from an inner strength provided by the Lord.
“They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them” (Nehemiah 9:17).
Jewish ancient custom was to remember those less fortunate than oneself during feasts. Joy isn’t something we create, earn, or deserve. Though we have nothing to give, and no ability to stop sinning, Christ reached down . . . He came down and died for us. Like Nehemiah, we need a plan to reconstruct ourselves from the inside out. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross allows us the opportunity to come to the end of ourselves and submit our efforts to “fix” and “do” with His strength to carry out God’s purpose in our lives. Joy doesn’t just happen. It’s a product of a plan to restore our souls. An active choice to seek God’s wisdom in exchange for our own. Joy is a result of a disciplined, prioritized life guided by the Holy Spirit.
Focus On Fulfilling His Dream
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16).
Our Man of God, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome explains that there’s no doubt, the coming of the Lord is nearer than ever. But the Bible says, “…for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The Amplified Classic puts it thus: “…for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition).”
Focus your energies on fulfilling God’s dream, His vision of Kingdom expansion and world evangelisation. Refuse to be among those clinging to the things of the world, concerned only about their personal gain and comfort. They’ve been conquered by the spirit of the world. Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). It’s so important that you live your life established in Christ, deeply rooted and founded in Him. Remain steadfast, unmovable, doing the work of the Lord with joy.
If it weren’t possible for us to attain the measure of the fullness of Christ, God wouldn’t tell us to go for it. This is His dream. Therefore, go for it by studying and meditating on the Word voraciously, and yielding yourself to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus experienced the fulfilling joy that stemmed from His Father’s strength, and wanted us to be filled and overflowing with it.