“THE JOY OF THE LORD is your strength!”, says Nehemiah to the people. “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.”
(Neh 8:10) You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can choose your attitude in ANY given situation. Choose JOY.
The Greek and Hebrew words for “joy” carry the same idea: to rejoice, be cheerful, exceedingly and great gladness”. In the KJV, the words “joy, joyed, joyful, joyfully, joyfulness, joying, joyous, rejoice, rejoiced, rejoicest, rejoiceth, and rejoicing” are written close to 700 times throughout the OT and the NT. I would say that’s a great number of joys. I think the Lord is pretty serious about His people having a continuously joyful heart. Not only can and should you choose joy, it is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in your life:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
It’s right there behind love. Therefore, it begs the question: why are you not continuous in joy? I see way too many Christians walking around sullen and sour-faced. Where’s your joy? It’s ok to have a bad day, but if your bad day lingers on for months I’m concerned. It’s ok to weep and mourn. There’s a season for that. But, if your mourning is a continual thing, and joy is from the Lord, then where’s your joy? In Your presence is fullness of joy. When was the last time you spent a few hours in His presence? If you never smile and laugh and enjoy life— where’s your joy? Is the Spirit of God even at work in you? Why are you letting your circumstances dictate whether or not you can rejoice?
“Rejoice always,” I Thessalonians 5:16
Do you realize that many sicknesses are caused from bitterness and depression? This is just a medical fact. Negative emotions take a huge toll on the body and are the root of all kinds of illness and disease. God’s Word is medicine and health to all your flesh. Joy can bring healing to your body.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
If you are letting your circumstances keep you in bondage, then you are not operating according to the Holy Spirit. Your feelings are holding you captive and your emotions are keeping you imprisoned. Your negative emotions are drying up your bones. You are operating in the flesh and therefore cannot even please God. I have to ask the continuously sullen and sour-faced person, are you even saved? Because a saved heart is filled with exceedingly and great gladness. What excuses are you allowing to dictate your life? Where’s your joy? If Paul and Silas could sing songs of praise in prison, what’s your excuse for not choosing to rejoice always?
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