This guy doesn’t seem all that excited about posing for underwater pictures, does he? He may actually be as happy as a lark, but his face seems to be saying, “Hmmph! This is pretty lame, don’t you think?”
I think I was born an optimist. I tell people that it’s not my spirituality that makes me generally joyful and enthusiastic. I think it’s just my personality. I’d probably be a very joyful and enthusiastic Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness or . . .
This raises a very important question, doesn’t it? The Bible says, “The JOY OF THE LORD is my strength!” That statement is really from Nehemiah 8:10 which says, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
That exact expression — “the joy of the Lord is my strength” — is only used here in Nehemiah 8.
How is the joy of the Lord our strength? If we look to circumstances for our joy, we will be weakened by the things that happen to us over which we have no control. If we look to ourselves and our abilities, we will be discouraged at our own foibles and mistakes and misdirected passions. If we look to other people, we will sometimes be surprised by the joy they bring to us. But they are not the Lord!
The real question, I think, is how can the Lord’s importance in my life become more vital, more relevant, more the source of my daily strength? It begins, of course, with a saving relationship with Him, an experience the Bible calls conversion. If I have been truly converted to Jesus Christ, there now exists the potential for me to develop a relationship of joy with Him that this poor world can’t match. If you’ve got the Lord, you’ve got the source of joy. [to be continued]
1. Study the tern “convert” or “conversion” in the Bible. How has our culture minimized the concept of being converted?
2. What would be one example of the joy of the Lord in your life?