“The Joy of the Lord is my Strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)
As a committed follower of Christ we enjoy a unique position. The moment we placed our faith in Jesus we became someone we have never been before. Our spiritual heritage changed from a helpless sinner doomed to separation from God, to a child of God with a home in heaven that anxiously awaits our arrival. But that’s not all.
Through Christ, we were given a relationship with the God of the universe that allows us to wade through and survive every challenge the world can throw at us. We were given a strength that is not of this world. This strength is not based on knowledge, wisdom, or even a spiritual formula. It’s not earned by religious ritual or good performance. It is a gift from God that is a by-product of our salvation… it is call “Joy”.
Nehemiah had the right idea. The strength to weather any storm or crisis is based on drawing on the “Joy of the Lord.” In this context, Joy is best described as “Inner peace”. God makes available to every believer an inner peace. But we can only draw on it when we choose to surrender our control to Him. The real question is do we believe that God is in control when things are not going well with us? Do we believe that He can and will work out all our circumstances for His glory and our good?
When we are allowed to encounter impossible situations, it leads us to a frustration with our own self effort to fix it. We then have no place to turn but to God. He wants our first reaction to any difficult situation to be to run to Him. Our heavenly Father wants us to need Him.
That’s what the “joy of the Lord” is about. It is not acting super spiritual on the outside and not letting anyone see you sweat. The “joy of the Lord” is a position and a belief system that says, “no matter what is going on around me, I am trusting God. His foreknowledge and wisdom teaches me that He is in control and it will all work out for my good if I will let go and trust Him.”
The Scripture tells us that we are made complete by the person of Christ within us. “In Him you have been made complete.” (Colossians 2:10) Therefore, all we are, and all we need is found in God within us. Our response to this incredible gift is to rest and trust Him.
Christian recording artist Larnelle Harris has a great song that speaks to subject of trusting God entitled “Strength of the Lord”. Here are the lyrics to the chorus:
It’s not in trying but in trusting
It’s not in running but in resting
Not in wondering but in praying
That we find the strength of the Lord
“But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” Psalm 2:12