JOY OF THE LORD
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)
Joy and Happiness
There is a fine line between joy and happiness. Happiness is an emotion which is subjected to the circumstances around us; whereas joy is a supernatural gift of the Spirit which every Believer can experience regardless of what is going on around them. In other words, if you do not have the Joy that comes from God, you have not experienced true joy at all.
A Merry Heart
A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) (NKJV)
My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes. (Psalm 38:7,10) (NIV)
I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within. (Psalm 31:10) (NLT)
Researchers and medical practitioners agree that the root of many diseases including cardiovascular diseases, migraines, back aches or joint pains, gynaecological disorders, cancer and auto-immune diseases are closely rooted in negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, self-rejection, anger and unforgiveness, and stress. Often when these negative emotions are not properly dealt with, they can have detrimental effects on out health. And sometimes as long as we do not allow God to take control in those areas, there will be no healing in our bodies.
These negative emotions emit poison into our bodies, disrupt our body functions, fluctuates our hormones, increases blood pressure, and causes our bones to become brittle. And often, the only cure for it is joy.
Connection Between Joy and Strength
One of the main symptoms of depression, fear and anxiety is the rapid loss of strength. When we are overwhelmed with grief, pain and fear it is as if we have laboured for days. To add on to it, many people suffering from depression neglect their meals which are the main source of protein and energy.
Note that there can be no joy in depression, anger or anxiety. When joy fades, so does our strength. You can only regain your strength when you have found your joy. No amount of sleep, rest or food can replenish the loss of strength through depression. Only the joy that comes from the heart of God can.
A Tired Soldier
As Christians, we are constantly in the battlefield. We are always fighting the battlefield of our minds, soul and will. And even though the battle is the Lord’s, we need the strength to sustain and stand strong. We still need to play our part in winning the battle.
A weak and tired Christian cannot fight, and the Devil knows that all too well. His main strategy is to make us weak by eliminating our source of joy. Remember, to be joyful is a choice. It is not dependant on our circumstances or if things are going on well for us; but rather it is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. By our own human nature we can never be joyful when things go wrong. But if we want to be an effective soldier in God’s army, we must know when and how to replenish our strength.
Fullness of Joy
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever (Psalm 16:9-11)
We find joy when we learn to rest in the arms of God. King David is probably the most depressed man in the Bible, but he has found a very important recipe for joy: the Presence of God. David may not have everything going right for him, but he knows where and how to draw strength from.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Far too often we try to carry our own burdens, or even get others to carry them for us; but seldom do we carry them before God. While other people may complain or judge us for our burdens, God does not. When we come to Him with all that is bothering us, He exchanges them with His joy, peace and strength.
When we come into His Presence, we must carry the key of Praise. The only battle that we need to fight when we are in God’s presence is the battle of Praise. It is easy to praise God when things are going well, but not so when we are going through trials. And yet, joy comes only when we learn to praise God in His sanctuary.
Never ask for a life without trials, but ask for strength to fight the battles. God never promises a life without pain. In fact, pain is the only way we can grow as Christians. But if we do not constantly come before God and receive His joy and strength to fight, we can never win.