The Joy of the Lord

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Articles | 0 comments

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

 

“I was surprised the other day when I found out you are a Christian.”  I remember hearing those words from a co-worker at a previous place of employment.  Those words hit me in the head and heart like a hammer.

 

My initial reaction was “Dear Lord!  How have I been living my life that this person, someone I have known for over a year, doesn’t know that I belong to You?”  It was a painful place to be until that person said, “Yeah, most religious people I know are depressing, condescending and self-righteous.  I could never hook myself up with a system that expects their people to go around being angry and depressed all the time or who think they’re better than everyone else.  You are always happy, encouraging and willing to admit when you’re wrong.  Kind of makes me wonder why all these other people are so unhappy.”

 

In that moment, I was both relieved and saddened.  I was relieved that I hadn’t been unconsciously trying to hide my faith.  But I was saddened to think that the only exposure this person had to my Savior was through unhappy, miserable people.

 

As I began thinking about the conversation, I became so very thankful for the joy the Lord has put into my very soul.  Yes, we all have days that we feel every ounce of our joy and gladness has been crushed out of us like grapes in a winepress.  Some days, putting on a smile is more than challenging.  But the fact that the Lord has filled me with His joy so that people notice, is absolutely wonderful.

 

Did you know that there are 158 verses in the Bible that refer to “joy?”  One of the fruits of the spirit is “joy” (Galatians 5:22).  People are naturally drawn to other people who are filled with life and joy!

 

When I picture Jesus as a man, I think about the personality He must have.  I see him sitting in a public square with His disciples and the other people with whom He was most intimate, and I see laughter.  I see smiles on peoples faces, stories being told and such gladness that the everyday person walking by wanted to be a part of it, to know why there was so much happiness in this group of people.  I never picture Him walking around with a pinched face and an air of misery.  I picture a man that people were drawn to.

 

People were amazed by His authority (Mark 1:27 – “What new doctrine is this?  For with authority He even commands the unclean spirits, and they do obey!”), but I also believe that they were drawn to joy (Matthew 21 – The Triumphal Entry – Throngs of people singing and shouting, verse 16 – “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise”).

 

When the everyday person sees you, what do they see?  Do they see a person who is burdened and weighed down with the do’s and don’ts of religion, a person who looks overcome with anger and misery?

 

Or do they see a person filled with joy and happiness?  Do they see the light of the Lord shining through in a quiet but bright happiness?  That’s the Lord I want people to see.  I want people to see the smile on my face and say, “Wow.  Look at how happy she is!  I want to know her secret.  I want whatever she has!”  I want people to experience the joy of the Lord as it just overflows from my very being.

 

Be a person people are drawn to.  Let them see the joy of the Lord in your life.  It will give them a desire to know “what it is you’ve got,” and it will open the door for you to share the truth of Jesus Christ.

 

And that truth is His love and salvation and that through Him, they too can experience life-changing joy!

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