Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5 (Nehemiah 8:10)

[T]he joy of the Lord is your strength.  (NIV)
Nothing is more difficult to write about than joy, and to talk about the joy of the Lord is nearly impossible.  First of all, most of us know little about joy.  We are quite familiar with happiness and pleasure, but joy?  Not so much. 
Joy is something that does not grow naturally in this world.  It has to be imported.  The difficult thing in talking about this is that there is no list of things to do.  We can tell each other how to achieve happiness and pleasure, but joy is simply something to be experienced.  We must be still.  We must pay attention.  We must allow God to bring the joy.  Only a heart being transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ is capable of recognizing joy for what it is.
And only then is there something for us to do.  We must hold on to it.  We must choose not to draw our strength from any other source, and this is a great effort indeed.  Yet the reward is worth it, for the strength that comes from the joy of the Lord is capable of facing anything.
Jesus, grant me not only Your joy, but the grace to see it for what it is.  As my identity grows deeper in You, may I take my strength solely from Your joy.  In Your name I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

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