Nehemiah 8:10 …the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold (Amplified version).
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights…
The Greek word for joy is ‘chara’ derived from the word ‘charis’ which is the Greek word for ‘grace.’ This is important to note because it implies that ‘chara’ (joy) is produced by ‘charis’ the grace of God. This means joy isn’t human basedhappiness that comes and goes based on happenings. Rather, true joy is divine in origin, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) that is manifested particularly in hard times. While happiness is circumstantial, joy is a Holy Spirit given expression that flourishes best when times are strenuous, daunting and tough.
To celebrate means to praise, to commend, to extol and make famous, to honour. The Bible instructs us to praise the Lord at all times both for who He is and what He has done. The Bible recommends that we commend ourselves for who we are in Christ and honour one another. People celebrate special days and occasions, they celebrate other people, they celebrate seasons and festivals but no one celebrates bad times because such periods are difficult. Truthfully, the Bible instructs us to praise the Lord at all times. This presents a challenge because if you celebrate in bad times, the people around you will think you are mentally sick. They wonder what is there to celebrate about hard times. Some may even feel you are being unrealistic and living in self-denial. However, in Psalm 34:1 and Psalm 67:5-6 the Bible instructs us that by celebrating God for who He is in difficult time turns our situation around for good. I agree we should not praise God for bad times because He did not bring difficult times to us so it would be an insult to praise God for what He has not done because God is not behind any evil. However, we can celebrate and praise God in difficult times but not for difficult times because we know He will see us through and He will help us to be victorious.
Every day, we are either celebrating victory or defeat. You know what you are celebrating by listening to the words that are coming out of your mouth. My question to you is, what are you making famous? What do you talk about most? The problem you are facing or the victory that you believed and received in Christ.
Joy and celebration work hand in hand. Where there is joy, there is celebration. The Bible instructs us to rejoice always not sometimes but always (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) your circumstances notwithstanding. You may wonder why. The following are some of the reasons why we should rejoice and celebrate: With joy, we draw from the well of salvation. Remember the word ‘salvation’ in Greek is SOTERIA, meaning total deliverance from evil. Therefore, we draw from the wells of salvation into deliverance with joy. The longer it takes you to rejoice, the longer it will take to draw from your wells of salvation into your deliverance. So start rejoicing.
The joy of the Lord is our strength and stronghold (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy gives you strength to get things done and a stronghold as a fortress that protects you from external forces and aggression so you can make progress without being disturbed or distracted by the circumstances around. The above verse was written about a very difficult time in Israel, when most of the Jewish people were in captivity and their country was colonized. But through the joy of the Lord, they built the wall and the gates of Jerusalem. They did this because they rejoiced and celebrated God, His faithfulness, His covenant and His mercy in spite of their seemingly hopeless situation.
Joy is the pacesetter for your promotion and stability (Habakkuk 3:17-19). A joyful Christian is mentally, emotionally and spiritually stable and focused. Paul said in the midst of some of the most challenging times he faced, ‘None of these things moved me.’ Joy was his stabilizer. Joy is a proof of your faith in God for a breakthrough (Psalm 30:5). Joy is the evidence that you know how things will turn out. Be aware that being joyful is a decision and an act of obedience and not a gift. You choose to rejoice not because of the circumstance but in spite of the circumstance. Happiness is fleeting and circumstantial but joy is divine and permanent.You rejoice because you know that all things will work together for your good because you love God and are the called of God according to His purpose. You rejoice and celebrate because He (Christ) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. You rejoice because God will never lie about His promise and He will come through for you. You rejoice because the greater One lives in you and you have divine support. You rejoice because you are not moved by what you see but by the Word of God.
There is no circumstance that can outlast the joy of the Lord. Being joyful is not being unrealistic about your circumstance; it is being realistic about your God and His ability to deliver at all times. That is why you are not a victim of circumstance but a creator and changer of circumstances. Why it is good to be happy when good things happen, it is better to be joyful because it keeps good things happening for you and turns bad situations around for you. Joy is the cure for depression, hopelessness, and it’s the game changer in the storms of life. So, get joyful and get your spirit man up and your physical situation will respond accordingly.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.
For Further Study:
Philippians 1: 25-30
Questions for Reflection:
- Do you know joy is like a thermostat that enables you to control the circumstances of your life but happiness is like a thermometer that is controlled by the circumstance of your life?
- Which one do you allow to rule your life?
The joy of the Lord is my strength. Whatever my situation is, I allow the joy of the Lord to take over.