Week 6: Day 42: Joy? How?
"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
Ponder: He continued, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!" Nehemiah 8:10
The people of Israel had been weeping and God gave them a command to "not feel bad." God desired the nation to feast and be joyful because the day was holy to Himself. The people were encouraged to tap into the joy of God in the midst of some sad emotions, it wasn't a human joy that was given, it was a God-given joy. This must have been a choice they had to make, to turn away from their negative emotions towards the joy God was giving them. One of the consequences was that they had a good feast, everyone benefited and they pleased the Lord in their obedience.
Actions: Joy can be practiced and learnt even in the midst of some pretty ugly circumstances. What would it look like for you to begin to explore the joy of the Lord by simply praising Him regardless of how you feel, simply because He is God.
Practice telling the Lord that you love Him, that you lift His Name up high, that He is holy and worthy. There is a little exercise that you can practice: Take the alphabet and begin with A and find something to praise God for each letter:
I adore you.....You are such a zealous God.
Prayer: Lord, I ask you for a pattern of joy to invade my life. I thank you, that I am not alone in this. The joy that is a part of who You are, is also my strength. May I learn joy in all the circumstances I find myself. Help me to connect with You, the source of all meaningful joy. May this also touch others as I increasingly learn to walk in Your joy. Amen
Challenge: The concept of joy is not a self-serving, "only for me joy". It is also not a joy that happens when we think we have done everything right in our own eyes. It is deeply linked to a connection with Jesus, our Savior. This joy has much to do with our walk and relationship with Christ, and then outworking to others. Joy throughout Scriptures is frequently a communal response to things of God. It is deeply related to "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33 N.L.T. This is a joy that is difficult to put into words, just sit with Jesus and ask Him about it. Joy begins and ends with Him.