Joy | By Mike McGuire

When you hear the word strength, what is the first thing that you think of? Is it a body builder, crossfit follower, a person dealing with a heavy amount of stress? Or is it someone overcome with laughter and positivity?

See, I was talking with a good friend a few months back and we began talking about strength and the way that it is used in the Bible and the verse that came up was:

“Go and celebrate… Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Nehemiah 8:10 

This verse rocked me! When I really thought about it, I realized that anytime I’ve felt weak it was when I had no joy. This lack of joy usually comes from me trying to control everything. When things do not go according to my plan, I get dejected or sad instead of relying on the joy of the Lord as my strength. As I read that verse in Nehemiah, I asked myself these questions:

  1. How joyful am I?
  2. What things in life have I allowed to rob me of this joy?
  3. When was the last time I strived to bring joy to those around me?

Reflecting on these questions helped me dive deeper into the battle of whether or not I will live a positive or negative life. You see, when you live with a positive outlook on life you can’t help but be joyful. And the only way you can be positive is to “trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5)

Have you found yourself in the middle of the battle to fight against the war that rains down on us to be dejected and negative? How do you view your life? Do you see shortcomings or opportunities? Do you see the things you’re good at or only your flaws? Do you understand that with Christ you are rich or do you get caught in the comparison game?

Can you see why perhaps you feel dejected or weak? Perhaps you are only feeling this in one area of your life but it is solved in the same way. You must fight to have joy no matter what circumstance you may face. Joy is not the same as happiness. We cannot always be happy but we can always be joyful and therefore strong. Our joy comes from knowing Christ and trusting that he will lead us where we need to go and help us endure what we must for his glory.

Living by joy is a different way of living than how the world lives. The world tries to create negativity and it is ruled by our enemy. So why would we listen or do anything the way the world tells us to? Worry Less! We must be strong and joyful in the Lord!

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