When we don’t tap into the spiritual fruit of joy, we negate our source of strength. “…Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”(Nehemiah 8:10b)
The truth of this verse turns the world’s definition of strength upside down. The world wants us to think that strength is the ability to work harder than anyone else. We believe that if we can just hold out longer or put in more hours than others, then we are stronger.
That might mean that we are physically stronger than others, but if we put all of our faith in physical strength, what do we do when it fails?
We’re not going to find lasting strength in ourselves, our jobs or our relationships with people. Like Nehemiah 8:10 reveals, we’re only going to find true strength in the joy of the Lord.
This is because everything that’s in the world is temporary. We won’t always be as strong as we are
right now. Our job will eventually change. People will walk in and out of our lives. We will be weak when our strength is found in these temporary things.
However, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”(Hebrews 13:8).
We can and should make the joy of our heavenly Father our source of strength because He never changes.
But a hardened heart doesn’t look for joy. It’s too busy looking at all the negative circumstances and people surrounding it, and is blinded to the work of God’s grace.
That’s why a hardened heart is a weak heart, because it is a heart without joy.
It’s only when we begin to open our eyes to the amazing work of God’s grace in our lives that we begin to be joyful. Instead of looking at ourselves and seeing how far we need to go, we see how far we’ve come. This causes us to praise and thank God for everything He’s already done.
If His grace has already brought us this far, wouldn’t it make sense that it would continue to work in our lives?
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6).
God is perfecting His good work in us. This is where we place our faith. This is where we should find our strength. When we do, we’ll also find our joy.