Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be so full of joy all the time or to meet someone who feels like sunshine? I do and I wonder why sometimes I struggle to have joy at all.

What is joy?

In Hebrew, the word for “joy” is “simchah”1It is considered a gift to mankind2Another Hebrew word for joy is “chedvah”, which means joy or gladness3Joy in the Old Testament covers a wide range of human experiences, from sexual love to military victory4.” according to Bible Hub.

We were created to have such joy that we’re supposed to walk around exuding so much joy on to others that they see Jesus in us. Have you heard that saying, “The Joy of the Lord is my strength.”? Have you ever felt the ‘joy of the Lord’ and thought about how his joy alone sustains us? His joy brings strength to us.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

So what was Nehemiah talking about in this verse? MacLaren’s Expositions says this, “Judaism, in its formal and ceremonial aspect, was a religion of gladness. The feast was the great act of worship. It is not to be wondered at, that Christianity, the perfecting of that ancient system, has been less markedly felt to be a religion of joy; for it brings with it far deeper and more solemn views about man in his nature, condition, responsibilities, destinies, than ever prevailed before, under any system of worship. And yet all deep religion ought to be joyful, and all strong religion assuredly will be so.”

“Here, in the incident before us, there has come a time in Nehemiah’s great enterprise, when the law, long forgotten, long broken by the captives, is now to be established again as the rule of the newly-founded commonwealth. Naturally enough there comes a remembrance of many sins in the past history of the people; and tears not unnaturally mingle with the thankfulness that again they are a nation, having a divine worship and a divine law in their midst. The leader of them, knowing for one thing that if the spirits of his people once began to flag, they could not face nor conquer the difficulties of their position, said to them, ‘This day is holy unto the Lord: this feast that we are keeping is a day of devout worship; therefore mourn not, nor weep: go your way; eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ You will make nothing of it by indulgence in lamentation and in mourning. You will have no more power for obedience, you will not be fit for your work, if you fall into a desponding state. Be thankful and glad; and remember that the purest worship is the worship of God-fixed joy, ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ And that is as true, brethren! with regard to us, as it ever was in these old times; and we, I think, need the lesson contained in this saying of Nehemiah’s, because of some prevalent tendencies amongst us, no less than these Jews did. Take some simple thoughts suggested by this text which are both important in themselves and needful to be made emphatic because so often forgotten in the ordinary type of Christian character. They are these. Religious Joy is the natural result of faith. It is a Christian duty. It is an important element in Christian strength.”

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

Do you walk by the spirit? Is the joy of the Lord your strength? The Holy Spirit is so lovely and kind. There is a reason he is called the comforter when you’re facing the most difficult situation or when you feel like the enemy is coming at you in all different directions. Joy is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. He brings strength with that joy and it’s so powerful. When you’re exuding joy, you’re exuding strength and when that happens, you’re able spread it like peanut butter effortlessly. 🙂

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