(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
The joy of the Lord is your strength!
“If you have a disappointment…take 24 hours to grieve or be sad. Then get back at it.”
“If you have a great victory…take 24 hours to celebrate. Then get back at it.”
This advice is my paraphrase of a teaching given by leadership expert, John Maxwell. His point was don’t let the highs or the lows paralyze you. Grieve or celebrate and then get back at it.
The highs won’t last as long as you like. The lows sometimes last longer than you like.
So is it just a matter of “getting back at it” or is there more that provides the constant to keep moving forward?
The people of Israel had just had a great success. The wall around Jerusalem which had been demolished was rebuilt in just 50 days! In spite of opposition and threats of attack, the people worked together to bring strength to their city.
It was time to celebrate. The city of Jerusalem was rising again.
But there was more. Not only had the physical wall crumbled around Jerusalem, but the spiritual condition of the people had crumbled. On the day of celebration, Ezra the priest, spent all morning reading from the Book of the Law and others helped him explain clearly the words he was reading. The people were weeping and rejoicing as they heard the Word.
The success of the wall was incredible – take a day or so to celebrate that.
But Nehemiah reminds them in Nehemiah 8:10:
Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The joy of the Lord is your strength! The wall wouldn’t last forever, but the power and promises of the Lord would. What was really being celebrated was the faithfulness of the Lord to his people Israel.
No doubt, there are days that are reason to celebrate and invite others over to do the same. Celebrate. But remember lasting joy is found in the Lord.
No doubt, there will be days we experience where it feels like the walls around us are crumbling and everything is going wrong. Sometimes you need 24 hours to feel sad and be with people to commiserate, but don’t let it linger. Nehemiah’s words apply again, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
In the successes and disappointments of life, the constant is the joy that the power and promises of the Lord give us. Our greatest joy comes from the contentment and certainty that we are loved, forgiven, children of God.
This will keep our hearts at an even keel…no matter what the day brings.
Apply: Think of your best day. Think of your worst day. How could the joy of the Lord be a constant in both?
Prayer: Lord thank you giving us your word of promise and your acts of power. May the joy they bring always be our strength…in good days and challenging days. AMEN.