What does “The Joy of the Lord is my strength” mean?
Great question! Nehemiah 8:10 says, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” This was stated to the people of God on a day when the law of God had been read and they responded under conviction with grief. Yet Nehemiah focused on the fact that they were now back in the land, listening to the words of God. He called it a holy day.
Key to understanding the meaning of the joy of the Lord being our strength is recognizing that this joy is not separate from the person. It is the joy of the Lord. And He is strong.
The fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22) because God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), and the first expression of love is joy. Joy is not mere happiness on the soul level. (Unbelievers experience that level of happiness.) Deeper than the soul level, joy emanates from the Holy Spirit who is joined to our human spirit.
Even in our darkest hour, the Holy Spirit is with us. And, of course, He is with us at all times. If we forget this marvelous truth we can sink into despair. But we can look unto Jesus—a simple look of faith. As we walk in the sphere of our provision in the Spirit, we access the Spirit Himself and therefore the fruit of the Spirit. He imparts the life of Jesus to us. The joy of Jesus upholds us. He is our strength. Strength in times of service and strength in times of darkness.
Discouragement, despair, and depression weaken us greatly. But as we look unto Jesus, the Spirit infuses us with the joy of the Lord. The imparted life of Jesus inevitably strengthens us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
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