Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Neh.8:10 - “…The joy of the Lord is your strength.” I know that theoretically but am so prone to living without the fulness of His joy. His Joy is the fruit of His Spirit dwelling in me (Gal.5:22-23), and it naturally follows that that joy should be the natural condition for every believer - the life deprived of this joy is not the normal Christian life but rather the normal Christ-less life. No one but myself can steal His joy from me. Living in His joy, and accordingly in His strength, is a 2 part process and it all goes back to what I do with my mind. 2 Cor.10:5 tells me to take every thought captive making it obedient to Christ. That encompasses two key areas. The first has to do with the thoughts I must veto: those include every worry (Mt.6:25-34), every anxiety (1 Peter 5:7), every fear (1 Jn.4:18), bitterness, anger (Eph.4:31) and anything else that I can let rob me of His joy. The second part of this is what I must focus on: as with everything in life my eyes must be squarely on Jesus as He alone is the source of my joy (Heb.3:1, 12:1-2). It is vitally important that I remember all He has done (Lk.2:19) with an attitude of thankfulness (Heb.12:28). It is with that attitude of thankfulness that I will truly understand what David wrote in Ps.103:2-5: “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” And it is with that heart that I will experience the exuberance described in Ps.126:1-3, “When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” God did not save, redeem and free me only to live a life of worry, anxiety, fear, bitterness and anger. I am fully in charge of the level of joy I experience. He has already given me the fulness of His joy - I now decide how much of it I will walk in. Every day is one He has made; I must choose to rejoice and be glad in it (Ps.118:24). Even in trials His joy is my strength and that is why in the midst of his trial Paul was told, in 2 Cor.12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Even in trials and weaknesses, as I choose to walk in His joy, I will experience His strength. “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Hab.3:18).” In that life context of unmitigated joy, His strength becomes relevant and powerful in every area of my life.