The last time I preached was on 23 December 2018 which the message was “Change of Plans”. Unknown to me what I had planned for 2019 changed drastically. It has been a tough start to the year for me and my family with the unexpected circumstance of my Dad passing away. This was a shock to all of us as he was not sick. It was as if the Lord decided to take him before the year ended on the Lord’s day.
The last thing my Dad was studying was “Be Joyful” from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul encouraged his readers that we are to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Through my own trials, I have started the same study to help me understand how to be joyful all the time.
Joy is more than just a principle; it is a supernatural force that originates from the born-again recreated spirit. To be more specific we can define joy as “a supernatural force of God that is a by-product of our born-again life that characterises the victorious life.” One of life’s greatest keys to success and victory is this revelation we should not ignore—The joy of the Lord is your strength!
The original Hebrew meaning indicates that strength means fortress, stronghold, place of refuge, a harbour. Joy is that place of refuge that protects you in a time of trial.
What do you need the most during times of testing and temptation? What is the first thing that departs from your spirit when bad news comes? Your strength, which is the same as joy according Nehemiah 8:10. The joy of the Lord is the supernatural force that gives you the ability to outlast the storm!
Jesus said in John 16:33 (Amplified Bible):
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
Jesus taught that we would have tribulation, but He encouraged us to be filled with joy because He had overcome the world. The Lord gives us the key to dealing with the tribulation. He commands us to be filled with joy! He is talking about a living faith that rejoices until the victory is won!
In spite of the trials and hardships in life, we must learn to always make a quality decision to be full of joy. Making this type of decision will maintain your joy and you will outlast your trial.
Paul said to be “strong in the Lord” in Ephesians 6:10, Joel taught us to say “Let the weak say I am strong.” Remember your joy is your stronghold and place of refuge. Maybe this is why James started his letter with:
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.
My prayer for all of us is—whatever we are going through or what is about to come, is that we will not lose heart, but continue rejoicing because we have been counted worthy of suffering for the Name of Jesus. (Acts 5:41)
Hang in there…