Nehemiah 8:1-12 James 1:2-8
Philippianes 1:3-11 Galatians 5: 22-23
Nehemiah 8:1-12 tells a story. It tells us that upon returning to Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s heart was moved by the destruction that he found. Petitioning foreign leaders, he gained permission to rebuild the wall. Not only did he rebuild the wall, but he also reclaimed Jerusalem. He provided for others and repopulated Jerusalem. He instructed the people to be joyful, for he knew that it was in their joy that they would find strength. The people rededicated their lives and made themselves pure before God.
Years of disobedience and lack of repentance had brought the wall down, landing God’s people in exile. Judgement came because they refused to repent. Upon repentance, Jerusalem was reestablished with those whom Nehemiah knew was pure.
Imagine how Nehemiah felt standing before the destruction of the wall.
The work that lay ahead!
Think about how it feels when we stand before God after true repentance and realize what a mess we are!
The work that lay ahead!
Wait a minute. Wasn’t I supposed to be telling you how to have joy? Where is the joy in realizing how far we’ve drifted from God? How can we have joy looking at our lives that seem to be such a mess? Where is the joy in that? Is it possible to have joy? Let’s jump in and explore!
James 1:2-8 Paul tells us to ‘count it all joy’. Not a little. Not some. Not a bit. Not only the places we want but ALL of it. This includes our trials.
Joy comes not in fleeting moments of elation, but in the quiet, calm restful places of our soul. The deeper we go in Christ, the deeper our joy.
Philippines 1: 3-11 tell us that joy is the strength we find in negative circumstances. It is what allows us to praise God.
I want you to see something here. Joy is a decision. We have to decide to have joy and we also have to decide to use it. It does us no good to have it but not use it. As a fruit of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, it is ours. But like anything else, it does us no good to have it but not use it. Our joy is able to flow when we worship God. Worship is the spigot, if you will, that turns on our joy.
Joy is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is an inward expression of God’s love. It is choosing to abide-remain-in Him. Outwardly, joy manifests itself as delight or pleasure. Inwardly, joy manifests as peace When we find truth, we find joy. Because it is then we find rest. It is an expression of faith that comes through abiding in Him.
When we confuse happiness with joy, it can weigh our souls down. Joy is what allows us to keep going when we so often want to quit. He is the reason we rejoice!! He saved our butts from hell. This alone should give us reason to celebrate!
We’ll talk more about joy in upcoming devotionals, so stay tuned!!!
Father. Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to come to you as we are. You allow us to come to you as we are. Most of the time, Lord, we are a mess. Circumstances and situations that surround us try to bring us down to nothing. BUT GOD, You allow us to rebuild. You allow us to take the rubble of our lives and create a masterpiece. For that, we thank you. AMEN.