We are living in unprecedented, unpredictable times that none of us could have adequately prepared for. Our lives have been traumatically turned upside down, causing disappointments, uncertainty, and fear. People are closed in their homes, not wanting to come out. Our children are disappointed because something they worked so hard for, such as school events, graduations, or proms. All cancelled. People seemed to have lost their joy, there peace, and their excitement for life.
- What Does It Mean for the Joy That was Set Before Him?
- How to Obtain this Unspeakable Joy?
- Meditate on the strength that comes from joy alone.
- What care, thought, or burden is keeping you from the fullness of joy today?
- Surrender every area of your life to the capable hands of God and enter the joy that comes from dependent relationship with God.
But, regardless of what you are going through in your life, what things you are dealing with, remember, the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Isaiah 60:1. (KJV)
Paul said to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4, ESV).
What was James saying here? James was saying to “count it all joy,” he encourages us to evaluate the way that we look at trials. He calls believers to develop a new and improved attitude that considers trials from God’s perspective. James wants believers to know to expect “trials of various kinds” (James 1:2) in the Christian life. We should be prepared and not caught off guard when a sudden trial comes upon us. Trials are part of the Christian experience. Jesus told His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart (good cheer) I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
What Does It Mean for the Joy That was Set Before Him?
The joy of fulfilling the will of the Father, Psalm 40:6-8, etc., in tasting death for every man; and having endured the cross and despised the shame of this ignominious death, He is set down at the right hand of God, ever appearing in the presence of God for us, and continuing his exhibition of himself as our Sacrifice, and his intercession as our Mediator.
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (NASB: Lockman)
There is joy in God’s presence. However, it is easy for the pain, stress, and burdens of life to rob us of God’s joy. The enemy knows that God’s joy is our strength, so he tries to rob us of God’s joy – especially when we need it the most! But do not allow the enemy to rob you of the fullness of life.
The strength that comes from the joy of restored relationship with our heavenly Father is unlike any other strength we can find in ourselves. The joy of the Lord is unceasing, unwavering, and powerful. It comes from a place of internal peace with God rather than external, fleeting circumstances. And it is wholly available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. May we be a people marked by the joy of our heavenly Father as we allow God to come and fill our lives with his powerful presence.
Nehemiah 8 gives revelation on God’s desire to establish joy at the foundation of following him. The nation of Israel had just rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem and were learning again what it is to live in obedience to the word of God. As Ezra opens God’s word, the people fall on their faces in mourning and shame for their disobedience. And in response to their tears, Nehemiah proclaims to God’s people, “Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). God desires for joy to be at the foundation of relationship with him. He longs for us to be a people marked by the joy that can only come from restored relationship with our Creator. His joy is to be our strength.
The true meaning of strength in the earth is total joy that comes from dependence on our heavenly Father.
Psalm 16:8-11 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
It is only in utter dependence that the Lord can fully work in and through us. It is only in setting him always before us that we will be fully strengthened by the joy that comes from relationship with him. And it is only in continually seeking his presence that we will discover the fullness of joy and pleasure meant to be our portion as his children. It is time to get the spirit of Joy back. It is time to learn to laugh again. We are so serious about everything. It is time to kick back, enjoy life, and laugh again.
God wants to be your strength. He wants to me your joy. He wants to root and ground you in his unshakable joy.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” May you discover the powerful medicine of joy today as you enter a time of guided prayer.
I am reminded in the Old Testament where king Jehoshaphat received word that three armies had conspired together and were coming against him in one massive assault, he made a decisive and unconventional leadership move. Faced with the three-pronged advance of a global health pandemic, a world economy that’s come to a screeching halt, and the personal crisis of anxiety and fear—what can we learn from this ancient leader that’s applicable today?
The odds were not good for Jehoshaphat, and, honestly, they are not that great for a lot of families and businesses right now. Deep down, most leaders who have weathered brutal storms know that we will get through it. We always do, by the grace of God. We will endure the carnage and emerge from the depths to grow and prosper again. But that is going to take time—a long time.
First, he called the people to seek God. The King prayed this transformational twelve-word prayer—We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
We do not all have the liberty to corporately call our people to seek God. But every leader does have the opportunity to privately seek heaven’s help before leading others into the fray.
A word came to the king and a battle plan was set in motion. Jehoshaphat was told, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (2 Chron. 20:17).
God isn’t asking you to over-spiritualize your situation: “Hey guys, we’re just going to trust God with our enterprise and see what happens! Sit back and relax.” God got this.
Philippians 4:5 before, rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Each day you must make the choice of who will control your thoughts and your heart. And each day you must choose to allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength. For it is only by his strength that we will endure these times with joy. And I can have joy because God’s promises are true, and he will continue to be faithful…regardless of what is happening in our world.
How to Obtain this Unspeakable Joy?
1. Meditate on the strength that comes from joy alone. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to have more of the joy available to you in God.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
“Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:8-11
2. What care, thought, or burden is keeping you from the fullness of joy today? What area of your life do you need to surrender to live in total dependence on your heavenly Father? Where is God wanting to fill you with his abundant joy today?
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
3. Surrender every area of your life to the capable hands of God and enter the joy that comes from dependent relationship with God. Rest in his peaceful presence and allow him to fill you with joy overflowing. Ask him to guide you into a more joyful life and to free you from whatever bonds would keep you from experiencing all he has for you.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
Regardless of our outward circumstances, we can always rejoice in the Lord.
Dear Father, in the Name of Jesus. You brought us through the storm, rain snow, and sleet, and we thank you. I lift my eyes to You. Please disrupt my false sense of control and my overblown confidence in my own abilities. I humbly bow and ask for your supernatural strength, wisdom, and courage so I can endure these days and lead myself and others with faith for the future. My daily prayer will be I don’t know what to do, in every situation, I trust in You. My eyes are on you. Lead me and use me as an agent for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters … It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23, 24b (NIV)
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13