The Joy of the Lord is our strength.
God gives us a commandment in Philippians 4:4 to rejoice…always. I always thought that this meant I had to be happy all the time. In my pain I would cry out, “God this is impossible, look at my life, how can I be happy right now?” And God’s reply seemed so simple I can’t believe I couldn’t see it. He said to me, “You’re right, you can’t be happy right now and I never expected you to. But, I didn’t command you to be happy, I commanded you to be joyful.” There’s a difference.
Our happiness has an expiry date, its tied to worldly things and instant pleasures. Therefore, our happiness will fade while joy can last eternally. Joy is like a constant song stuck in our heads that sings praise and worship to God all day long without ceasing! It’s rejoicing over eternal things that will never fade and never disappoint us. The joy of the Lord is our strength! Its what holds us together when every earthly thing falls apart. No matter what comes our way, internally we rejoice because we know God is good!
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) One of the most beautiful examples I have read for this is found in 2 Corinthians 4:6-11. Just really concentrate on this for a second, read it twice if you need to.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of the darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
When I read this, I consider myself as a jar of clay, broken, but through the cracks and the holes and everything that makes me broken, God’s light shines through. If I was perfect, how could He use me? Its because I’m broken that I can humble myself to bow before my Almighty Father. Its because I’m broken that I know the true weight that Jesus bore for me on the cross. Its because I’m broken that I have learned how to be joyful in my sufferings and set my sights on an eternal joy that I will have as I spend an eternity by his side.
Today, I want you to sing a song of thankfulness in your heart and the interpretation of that thankfulness is up to you. Maybe for you, its quite literally getting worship songs stuck in your head and singing them all day long. Maybe its just asking yourself whenever something goes wrong today, “Is it really worth getting upset over?” Think about what makes you joyful in the Lord and hold on to it. Be joyful, always.