Then there is more...
Joy gives…strength and empowers
A couple of years ago I was reading Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the lord is your strength.”
In it’s context, the Israel’s were weeping as the law was being read by Ezra, the law brought with it a sense of judgment as people struggled to keep it, but Nehemiah stops them and says that this isn’t a time for weeping. “The joy of the lord is your strength”
I began to just ask God what this meant.
What is your joy lord?
At that time my son was just a baby and he awoke from a nap. I went in to pick him up. He was smiling up at me and my heart was instantly filled with inexplicable Joy. The Holy Spirit spoke to me, “just as he is your joy, you are my joy.”
In that moment I had a revelation of what it means to be the Father’s joy. When we understand how much we mean to Him, it gives us real strength and we feel pure delight.
Hebrews 12:2 also reveals our identity of joy:
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
He saw a full, intimate relationship with you, and that empowered Him to endure the cross.
Joy enabled Jesus to hang on the cross!
He did that for you and me, He did that for us.
Joy gives…an eternal perspective
During the holidays I took my daughter to see a movie in 3D at our local cinema. I must admit; secretly I was a little excited to see what the experience would hold. As the movie began, I watched with delight as all the little arms in the cinema reached out trying to catch the leaves, bubbles, and any other object that seemed to drift down upon them from the air. It was amazing the depth that was achieved in the film. The effect was fascinating, but anytime I lifted my glasses, the image became disappointingly flat, uninteresting, and fuzzy. I felt robbed of the joy of the experience and quickly put my new specs back on!
As we watched, it struck me that this extra dimension is akin to the effect that joy creates; it too can bring a real depth and delight to our every day.
When we put on our Joy Glasses we get an eternal perspective that helps us see passed the difficulties that are occurring in our world in this moment.
We are eternal beings and Ron Hembree says “All who are with Christ walk daily in destiny.”
That is why James says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy.. Whenever we face trials.” Although it can be difficult, if we can learn to put our joy glasses on and learn to walk through these situations we actually develop a new level of authority. Catherine Marshall says, “It is an opportunity to claim part of our inheritance.”
Satan wants us to live a two-dimension life, the word says that he comes to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to steal our joy and one way he does that is by removing our child like faith and keeping us focused in the moment on the difficulties.
Joy gives… protection and healing
Oil symbolises joy in several places in the Bible. Oil is often a representation of the Holy Spirit and has a few different meanings but one of the main ones is protection and healing which restores us to wholeness.
Daniel 7 states that in the last days the enemy will try and "wear down the saints and take away their strength.” Our strength comes from knowing who we belong to and how much we are loved. Knowing that we are God’s beloved, dear children, and his delight, gives us strength and protects us. This relieves the wounding and the jarring that comes in life.
We need to be aware of the enemy’s plans to rob us of our joy. One of the ways that the he does this (and there are a few) is through worry, anxiety and depression.
When we do not trust that God is good and He loves us so much that He will never leave us our forsake us, we can open ourselves up to anxiety.
When we worry or allow anxious thoughts to occur in our mind we are looking at our lack, we are thinking with a limited mentality BUT God wants us to speak joy over our circumstances and this will attract His provision. This protects us.
In the ancient world oil had well-know therapeutic properties. Keith Warrington says, “The Spirit, who was associated with anointing and oil, similarly comes to offer wholeness, a sense of completeness and well-being in the fullest sense.” (p.21)
Jesus came and gave us the oil of joy in exchange for our mourning. It is His promise to us, and it is ready for us to receive.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.
Firstly, we must learn to deal with our thought life through self-control – another fruit of the Spirit. We need to think about our thinking and take captive every thought as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Secondly, sometimes we need healing and breakthrough direct from God. We may have a family issue, unforgiveness, or a physiological issue that needs healing. This may take time and require professional guidance. Everyone’s journey is different, but God’s promises are the same and His heart is that everyone is made whole. His oil softens and brings healing.
I know this, it is part of my story, my healing.
My family carry depression and mental illness. Like a cloak I could never quite take off, I have suffered from anxiety and mild depression throughout my life. A sense of anxiousness followed by periods of weariness would leave me in a flat emotional desert of numbness. Still able to function but only in survival mode at times. Then three years ago I attended a Sozo Ministry session at my church, this prayer lead ministry seeks to restore the participant to the Godhead fully. During my session I saw a brick wall and I knew that on one side was Jesus and on the other I stood alone and fearful, then slowly He began to remove the bricks until they were all gone, we stood facing each other, the barrier no longer existed between us. As I walked out of that room I knew I was healed of depression. And three years later I no longer feel weary, no longer do I walk through my days numb, no longer do I lack the precious gift of joy. In that moment my sadness was exchanged for His joy.
Three little letters that hold so much within - joy is a gift, a light, strength, power, life, healing and protection. I know my joy has been refreshed and deepened. I hope yours has been too.