I was talking to a friend who was discouraged about a difficult family matter that was impacting her young daughter in a very negative way. I had watched my friend get more and more overwhelmed by the anxiety and stress to the point that I could see her health was being jeopardized. I was reminded that when God brought the Israelites out from their oppressive captivity in Babylon that He promised they would “go out in joy and be led forth in peace” – Isaiah 55 verse 12. So I encouraged her that if we’re going to come out of dark places like she was in if we’re going to stand under the trials of life, we have to come out with joy and walk in peace. We have to use joy to deliver us from anxious thoughts, defeat, and discouragement. Joy is the key, and it’s inside us.
You may be facing a difficult situation today. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one or your child has got off course. Life has pushed your joy down. The key to staying strong in God is through partaking in His joy every day. When Nehemiah was encouraging the people under extremely difficult circumstances in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, he said, “Celebrate with a feast … for the joy of Lord is your strength” – Nehemiah 8 verse 10. He knew that only the joy of the Lord could help them overcome their discouragement and anxieties over setbacks and enemy threats.
Jesus prayed that His joy would “remain in you and that your joy may be full” – John 15 verse 11. The beauty of the joy that Jesus gives us is that it is not dependent on what is going on around us. His joy is in us. When you said yes to Jesus, nothing changed on the outside, but He gave you a new heart inside and filled it with His joy. He’s saying, “I’ve given you exactly what you need to defeat the power of the enemy and stay strong in this life”.
His joy is inside you, but you must cultivate it. It’s a bit like the lemon tree I planted. I made sure the soil was right, and I watered it, fed it nutrients, cultivated it, and eventually, the first lemons that were in the tree finally came out for me to use. Similarly, you have to tap into His joy. You have to develop it and practice it. The apostle Paul said it this way: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” – Philippians 4 verse 4. To rejoice means “to brighten”.
There’s a light of Jesus’ joy inside you. You just have to turn it up!