Joy is not a luxury.
And according to Nehemiah 8:10, it isn’t optional, because it says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Your strength comes from joy—that’s what makes joy so crucial!
We’ve already established that love is the foundation of every other fruit of the spirit, and now we’re moving into another powerhouse fruit, and you just can’t be without it to have victory. That’s because you can’t live a life of faith without being strong in the Lord. So, unless we want to limp along through life, we’d better focus on being joyful!
Now, the world will tell you that joy is a rare and fleeting emotion that only a blessed few experience on a regular basis. But what the world doesn’t know is that Bible joy is not the same thing as worldly happiness. It is not just a state of mind or a fleeting emotion. Joy is a very real force, and the devil doesn’t have anything that can stand up against it.
Here’s the best news—since joy is one of the fruit of the spirit, you already have it residing within you! If you leave joy sitting dormant, it won’t do you much good, so it must be put into practice.
If joy is something you’ve put on your spiritual back burner, it’s time to move it front and center to enjoy the benefits. Here are 3 Powerful Reasons the Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength.
1. Joy Chases Away Depression
“You have sorrow now, but… your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” –John 16:22 (ESV)
Depression is under the curse. That’s really no surprise because of the unpleasant and harmful nature of it. That’s why, though the devil will tempt us to do so, we cannot ever accept a spirit of depression to come upon us.
Trials will come in life (John 16:33), but one of the blessings of being a Christian is that we have joy and peace no matter what our circumstances are. The world looks to outward events for happiness, which are uncertain and tumultuous, at best. But the joy of the Lord—oh, glory! That comes from your spirit. It’s always there. You’re never without it.
At the same time, you have to choose to be joyful. Experiencing all of the fruit of the spirit manifesting in your life doesn’t happen by accident. They have to be intentionally cultivated and harvested. Joy comes from getting God’s Word down into your spirit, and the truth will set you free from bondage, fear and depression.
When you put your focus on the goodness of God and His Word, it is impossible to be depressed. That’s because depression is self-focused; joy is God-focused.
In Deuteronomy 28:47-48, the Lord commanded the people to serve Him with joyfulness. So, if joy is a command, then happiness is something we can control. That’s the problem some people have today. They think happiness is a result of events, rather than a choice. They think if their problems disappeared and they suddenly had everything they wanted, they would be happy. But that’s not true.
Because God never changes, His joy never changes. It’s always there within you, and it’s always the same—even when you’re going through trials. Joy is a spiritual force that’s born into you like the other fruit of the spirit. It springs out of your love and attention toward God. The more loving fellowship you have with Him, the more joy you’ll walk in.
Watch as Kenneth Copeland teaches you how to resist the devil with joy.
2. Joy Helps You Receive From God
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
First John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (NIV). Most people think that the thing for which they are asking needs to be His will—and they’re right. But many people leave out the other aspect of God’s will in their asking, and that is the posture in which they approach the throne of grace.
God’s will is that we approach Him in prayer with a forgiving heart (Mark 11:25), with faith—which only works by love—(Galatians 5:6), and with a joyful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Asking for the right thing with the wrong heart is not God’s will; and therefore, it is not a prayer that can be answered. So, if you’re coming to God to ask for something and you’re holding an offense against someone, violating the law of love or lacking joy, your prayer likely won’t be answered.
With that in mind, let’s check and see what a joyful person looks like.
- Joy doesn’t complain or grumble about people or situations
- Joy is predictably happy every day
- Joy doesn’t crumble to self-pity at the slightest bit of negative news
- Joy talks back to difficult situations with the Word of God
- Joy isn’t easily defeated but is empowered by the authority of Christ Jesus
- Joy is optimistic, not pessimistic or “realistic”
- Joy encourages and doesn’t tear down
- Joy is a pleasure to be around!
This is the posture of prayer that receives from God. A complainer isn’t going to wake up one day to a treasure-trove full of answered prayer and blessings from God. He’s too busy blocking his own way!
For example, it’s easy to receive healing in a service where the joy of the Lord is being manifested. There have been services where people who were sick praised God and rejoiced in Him until holy laughter broke out. They celebrated God’s greatness until they overflowed with such joy that the sickness in their bodies suddenly seemed like nothing at all, and they went home well!
Joy can have the same effect when it comes to receiving things like prosperity or divine wisdom. It will encourage your faith to the point where you find it easy to reach out and receive whatever blessings you need. Just as faith and love work together, faith and joy work together. Where being sad and discouraged pulls your faith down, joy strengthens your faith and causes it to rise.
If something has been stuck between prayer and manifestation, set out to work on your joy (we all need to do this!). Write down scriptures about joy, and read them every day. Go on a negative-word fast and work on stirring up the fruit of joy that’s on the inside of you.
As believers, we ought to live in a continual flow of the joy of the Lord! After all, we’re the redeemed.
3. Joy Keeps You Healthy
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” –Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
Just as in everything with God, each of His commands are meant to accomplish countless benefits in our lives. While joy will ward off depression and break open the door for manifestations, joy also keeps you healthy!
Research shows that depression, anger and stress are the cause of most diseases, including cancer, arthritis, heart disease and more. But a joyful heart does the following:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Releases muscle tension
- Decreases stress hormones
- Boosts the immune system.
And those benefits are just a few! As well, your quality of life and relationships will be far and away healthier and more enjoyable. A joyful heart really does good like medicine. When you’re full of the joy of the Lord—it is your strength. Strength to defeat the devil (no open doors here!), strength to overcome any trial, strength to live long, happy and strong!
(Find out why laughter is so good for your health HERE.)
These are only three powerful reasons the joy of the Lord is your strength—but they certainly aren’t the only ones! Dig deeper into walking in the fruit of joy in this seven-day study. Don’t waste one more moment of your life being sad, feeling sorry for yourself or complaining. Joy is a force that will help you walk in victory and live the life you’ve always wanted to live!
Watch as Gloria Copeland teaches you how to keep your joy full.
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