“Then he said to them. ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”
A remnant of the children of Israel had returned from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the Temple in the city of Jerusalem. In Nehemiah chapter eight all of the people gathered together in one place while the prophet Ezra stood on a platform and read the words of the Law of Moses to them. When the people heard the Law of God read to them they began to cry because they saw their own sin and shortcomings.
However, in verse nine, Ezra and Nehemiah commanded the people saying, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” Then they commanded the people to rejoice and celebrate.
This is exactly how God deals with us today. 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us that, “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” But after we have repented of our sin God does not want us to remain sorrowful. He then fills our life with His joy!
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” One key to walking in divine health and healing is learning how to rejoice and be full of joy! In fact, time and time again we are commanded by God in His Word to rejoice. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God commands us saying, “REJOICE ALWAYS, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Notice that God lists rejoicing in the same category as He lists praying. As a matter of fact, He told us to rejoice before He told us to pray. In other words, rejoicing is just as important to your spiritual and physical well being as prayer.
Few people understand the power of joy. The scripture tells us that joy will actually bring healing to your body like medicine. Our physical bodies were not made to carry heavy burdens of sadness, guilt and anxiety. Jesus said that His burden was light and that His yoke was easy.
One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is JOY. (Galatians 5:22) One of the marks that someone is filled with the Spirit is that there will be joy in their life. Acts 13:52 says, “And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
As a child my mother used to tell me that joy was not a feeling, but a choice. Happiness is an emotion, but joy is a fruit of the Spirit that is a part of your born again nature. Because the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, you now have the ability to rejoice anytime that you choose to do so. At first you may have to start out rejoicing by faith, but eventually your emotions will catch up with your faith and you will begin to feel those heavy burdens of sadness and depression lift right off of you. And once you begin to practice a lifestyle of rejoicing, your physical body will begin to respond by feeling stronger and becoming healthier.
Confession: The joy of the Lord is my strength. Today, I choose to rejoice regardless of my current circumstances or how I feel.