Bible Verse: The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12
- Saturday morning. Cold cereal. Cartoons.
This describes many of my childhood weekends.
So many great cartoons. Bugs Bunny. Scooby Doo. Fat Albert.
Of all the superhero cartoon characters, there was one whose source of power was both desirable and repugnant at the same time.
Why did it have to be canned spinach that gave Popeye his super-human strength? Spinach? Really?
I am thankful that spinach is not our source of strength. The Bible teaches that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
This doesn’t mean that we crack open a can of joy and suddenly we can do anything we want, but it really does mean that it is a strength-bringer.
You see, joy is an “overcoming” mindset. I have struggled with depression in my life, and when it gets the darkest, there is no optimism to be found. Everything feels hopeless.
But joy fills me with a sense of positivity that things will work out.
Because of that, joy is a powerful motivator. Again, when depressed, I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to attempt anything new, I don’t even care what happens.
But when I am filled with joy, there is a bounce in my step, a sparkle in my eye, and a thrill in my heart.
That doesn’t mean I will always just wait for joy before doing anything. Sometimes, by God’s grace and amid my dark moments, I will be reminded that it is worth getting up and getting going because of the joy that is out there.
Jesus modelled this for us:
For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus was a man of joy, but that did not mean He skipped to the cross. He would have rather avoided the cross, but He knew that joy was on the other side, and that propelled Him to go through the darkest night of His life.
Rely on Jesus and the joy He brings, and you will experience superhuman, or rather, supernatural strength.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I need Your joy today. I feel weak. I feel like giving up. Thank You that Your joy is real, not just a word on a Christmas card. Help me prove that Your joy is the strength I need. Help me to bring Your joy to others who need strength today, too.
Reflection: What are you relying on for your strength? Have you lost sight of the fact that one day, all this suffering will be behind us? Have you forgotten that Jesus has paved the way for you to have eternal life? Compared to eternity, this life is just a blip on the timeline. You will spend forever in perfect peace because of our Lord’s work. Fix your eyes on Him and let His joy be your strength.
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