The Joy of the Lord
The Joy of the Lord
Nehemiah 8:10 (CJB)
10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks, and send portions to those who can’t provide for themselves; for today is consecrated to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of Adonai is your strength.”
The scripture above is a very familiar one to most Christians. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” is the battle cry for anyone going through difficult times. As one well-known minister of the gospel says, “If Satan can’t steal your joy, he can’t keep your goods.” But knowing this and experiencing it are two different things.
How does this scripture become a reality in your life – especially when tough times come? First, you must realize that joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is an emotion based on your circumstances. Joy is a Fruit of the Spirit and resides within you. Joy is always present in your re-born spirit. The key to it becoming your strength is releasing it from your spirit to affect your body and soul (your physical being and your mind, will and emotions). That is done by faith – choosing to believe what the Word says before you “feel” it.
The Complete Jewish Bible offers additional insight that will help you take your faith stand and stay there. It says, “…the joy of ADONAI is your strength.” God has many names and each one is used in scripture to describe a specific attribute of God which meets a specific need of man. Adonai is the name of God that is translated “master” or “ruler.” Out of it flows concepts of ownership, dominion and control. The natural man of course is repelled by such suggestions. But for the born-again believer, surrendering your life (giving ownership and control) to Adonai positions you to receive all Jesus died to give you, including joy and strength.
The natural man focuses on the aspect of ownership which requires giving up something. But an equally important aspect of ownership is what is required by the one who has ownership; that being, the responsibilities the owner has toward the one he owns. A life surrendered to Adonai puts a demand on God to fulfill all the responsibilities of ownership. Just as a parent delights when his child comes to him and says, “Daddy, remember you promised…” it delights God to have His children remind Him of the good things He has promised. Anything the Word says God wants us to have – peace, joy, prosperity, health, a sound mind – becomes His responsibility to provide.
In the natural the idea of having joy while going through a crisis is impossible. But when you acknowledge your Heavenly Father as “Adonai”, He becomes responsible for your joy. You don’t have to “work up” anything. You just call out to Jehovah-Adonai, the one to whom you have surrendered your life, and rest in the knowledge that He will respond to your cry of faith. Your spirit will then release the joy within you and carry you through the difficult days/situation that you face. How does God feel about all this? Invert the last part of the scripture above and you will see that He is well-pleased; “My strength is the joy of Adonai”. God delights in seeing His children strong and well-able to overcome any obstacle the enemy may place before them.
Nehemiah 8:10 (GNT)
10 Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who don’t have enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don’t be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”
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