Last month we were sharing on Hope and encouraging one another to hold fast to the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Looking at the reality of what we have in Him and knowing that, apart from Him, we have nothing, nothing to grow us or sustain us, while in Him we have all the riches of Heaven. How wonderful to have this truth established in our hearts. We have so much to offer one another as we cheer each other on.
Only recently I chatted to someone whose health is steadily deteriorating and whose business is in serious trouble. He had no hope, he did not know Jesus Christ and there was not even a flicker of joy in his face. My heart ached for him. I wanted to shout – you need Jesus, you need to know Jesus, to know the God who comforts us and fills us with joy. Joy because we know Him, joy because we can trust Him, joy because He has saved us and given us a new life. I wanted him to know, believe and receive the peace and joy that I have known. I wanted him to know the words of the prophet Nehemiah.
Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
These are the words that Nehemiah spoke to encourage a nation who, after a time in exile, had once again come back to God, who had listened attentively for hours as the law was read to those who could understand. A whole nation drawn back, reconciled with the God who had created them. And here was Nehemiah encouraging them to know that in God’s awesome presence there is fullness of joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength!
King David, the psalmist understood only too well how God had sustained, protected and delivered him through many a dangerous and sad time, wrote the words, Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; You fill me with joy in Your presence.” As a believer, it is almost incomprehensible to imagine someone not believing, not knowing God and therefore not experiencing that deep inner joy at being reconciled to our Maker and knowing that no matter what happens……I will be OK. My God is with me and He has made his residence inside of me and it is His divine will to make my path straight. He loves me.
Let us always remember that a straight path does not mean a journey with no difficulties or pain. A straight path is one that is righteous in God’s eyes and one that is pleasing to Him. It is a path on which He will fashion us, teach us and make us more and more like Him as He waters and grows the fruit of the Spirit in us. Many Christians are disappointed and disillusioned because their lives have not been smooth sailing and they have not been able to do all that they have wanted. God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
May we cheer one another on, no matter how dark or how difficult things may seem, God will make a way and our hearts will know the joy of God’s provision. Psalm 92:4 “For You O Lord have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of your hands.” We may not always understand God’s path, it is certainly not mapped out for us, or printed out as in a blue print. No! We journey with the Lord, coming to know Him, experiencing Him through all the ups and downs. He ushers us through the maze of living as he teaches us and grows us so that we may become mature in Christ. Never underestimate or take for granted the powerful presence of God the Holy Spirit living in us and with us. It is the wonder of the New Testament – God not only reconciling us to Himself but living with us here on earth. The mark of the Holy Spirit, His presence within, a deposit and guarantee of eternal life with Him. (Ephesians 1:13-14) What an assurance of a glorious future!
Every aspect of our salvation is cause for joy. The Apostle Peter, who to me is an example of a normal, real man, full of strengths and weaknesses, passionate and at times afraid, yet he was able to write these words to build us up today. 1Peter1:8 “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him And even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” An inexpressible joy that results from an unfettered relationship with our God. Understanding and knowing that God’s love for us is pure, it is without human motives that often demand or expect. In Christ we are reconciled and brought back to a place of deep fellowship. Fellowship with a Father who longs to nurture us in His ways, revealing His original purpose for our lives that we may live and bring glory and honor to His Name. For it is God who created us for His divine pleasure, created us in His image that we may have the capacity to know Him.
I confess I cannot but marvel that such a mighty Deity, who is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, could regard such a relationship as important and pleasing. After all, who are we that He should consider us. But He does and He pursues us that we would come back into the fold where we belong and receive only good things from Him. A.W. Tozer describes King David’s life as a torrent of spiritual desire and his psalms ring with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout of the finder. How simply marvelous to enjoy a life that is always full of seeking and finding Him. I pray that for you and myself. May we seek the Lord with all our heart for, if we seek, we shall find! The dictionary describes joy as a feeling of great pleasure or happiness, a description that for me cannot adequately describe the joy spoken of in Christ. In Him is a deep sense of everything being right, the world can be upside down but in Christ the sense of hope, of peace and joy is unshakeable. It is the Holy Spirit stirring the rivers of living water within that they may bubble out in that joy, joy inexpressible.
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
We can say that in Christ we have joy – joy unhindered by circumstances, released by the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, equip us and comfort us. The words of Nehemiah are as true for us today as they were for the Israelites some few thousand years ago. “Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
And so my prayer for all of us:
May the God of hope fill us with all joy
and peace, believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may
abound in Hope. May we raise our voices and shout and cheer one
another on, considering how to spur one another on to love and good
May you have a blessed week.
Jane is the author and co-Founder of "Love Renewed" If you have a desire to learn more about God's love and apply it to your daily life, visit https://www.love-renewed.com/