As we journey through life sometimes we face difficult situations and go through periods of depression and frustration. Even then because we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength ( Neh 8:10), we try to maintain our joy and rejoice. Also we read about Paul and Silas who rejoiced in their hour of darkness and inspired by them we try to do the same but if we are honest we will admit that often it’s difficult to do so.
This is because our focus is on the actions of rejoicing (praising, singing etc) instead of the reason which produces the action .Trying to forcibly rejoice brings no change in the state of our heart (maybe momentarily we feel happy) or our situation.
But our understanding of the reason for rejoicing will produce joy in our hearts which will then cause us to rejoice expressed by our actions. It’s not vice versa. Our actions don’t have power.
If we read Neh 8:10 we will see it does not say that my joy is my strength. but “ the Joy of the Lord is my strength !!”
What is the joy of the Lord?
This Joy is can be seen in Zephniah3:17 where it says The LORD your God is in the midst of you a mighty One, a Saviour-Who saves! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest (in silent satisfaction) and in his love, He will be silent and make no mention ( of past sins , or even recall them): He will exult over you with singing. Halleluah!
See the joy of the Lord is His work of salvation, His promises and His love for you which comes out of His being not your doing.
During difficult circumstances there may be times when it is hard to do joyful actions. The devil tries to condemn us by questioning the love of God for us and telling lies about His true nature. We must remember that God is rejoicing over us with joy because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. And He is resting in His love for us because He is satisfied by the work of His Son. When we are sure about the truth that God is with us then in midst of any circumstance, even if we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will fear no evil. And the truth that He is rejoicing and having joy over us leads us out of the valley of depression and doubt to the mountain of joy and faith. His perfect Love casteth out our all fear. And we don’t have to force ourselves to do joyful action or make a joyful noise to the Lord but our knowing of His Joy compels us to rejoice with Him.. An unstoppable celebration begins in our heart.
As a result faith starts operating in our lives and we come out of every problem and keep celebrating with our Father Jehovah Nissi.
In spite of any situation we can continually participate in His joy, because no one can steal His joy and love for us.
Rom 8:38-39 says, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Nothing can steal His love for you.
Do not fall into the subtle trap of trusting your work and your actions of faith. Your focussing at the wrong place may cause you to miss the “Joy of the Lord which is your strength . Allow your restless soul to rest in Him and His Love.
You know that having the joy of the Lord will cause you to rejoice in the Lord. That is why the Bible speaks about rejoicing in the Lord in so many places as if it was a command. Your joy is dependent upon your knowing and not upon your circumstances.
It is the privilege of Christians to rejoice always, not at certain periods and at distant intervals, but at all times they may rejoice that there is a God and Saviour – in his promises, and in communion with him. The Christian, therefore, may be, and should be, always a happy man. If everything else changes, yet the Lord does not change; if the sources of all other joy are dried up, yet this is not; and there is not a moment of a Christian’s life in which he may not find joy in the character, and promises of God.
God has given us reasons’ for’ rejoicing so that we can rejoice ‘in’ Him even if there are no reasons in our circumstances to rejoice.
We can greatly rejoice in the LORD, our soul can be joyful in our God; for he has clothed us with the garments of salvation, He has covered us with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.[ Isa 61:10]
We can rejoice in our Lord always in spite of any situation since there is joy of Salvation in our God. There is fullness of joy in God’s presence; at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.[ Psa 16:11 ]
Salvation is THE reason that we can rejoice for. Psa 106:4-5 says, “Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”
And salvation is the fulfilment and assurance of His promise of being with us forever.
Our forced actions of joy does not force God to work in our lives, instead His Mighty Works force us to rejoice. Only we should continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.
Bro. Jawahar Kr. Singh & Sis. Ghazala J. Singh
Grace Bible School Siliguri, WB, India