“The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” This verse came to my attention back around Christmas. I ran across a note pad I had been given a few years ago and that verse was on the front. I took it to my mom’s to share with her. On one particularly stressful day, the notepad was lying on the table and I pointed it out to her as an encouragement. That verse stuck with me and I found myself whispering it often.
I just love all the connotations of this verse. It is found in Nehemiah chapter 8 verse 10. Ezra has just read the law to the people; they had bowed their faces to the ground to honor God. They were weeping. They have resolved to repent and turn to God. Sound familiar? But Ezra tells them this is not a day to mourn, but a day to enjoy – he tells them not to grieve because the joy of the Lord is their strength.
So many times in life, I find myself grieving or mourning instead of enjoying. I tend to dwell on my imperfect living and I allow the joy to be zapped out of just simply living. I don’t believe God intended us to live in mourning. Yes, we need to grieve our sins and repent and sometimes we have go through a time of seeking to be right before God. But, he wants us to find joy in our relationship with him. He delights in us and our joy in Him is a source of strength.
I had been thinking for some time that I wanted a word to focus on for 2012. That seems to be trending right now across Christian blogs and it’s not for everyone, but I rather liked the idea, so I started thinking about my word.
I kept coming back to this verse in Nehemiah and the word joy. My pastor touched upon this topic in a sermon early in the year and it made me realize that I don’t spend enough time in joy mode. One night while searching for the reference to this verse I came across a blog written several years ago on this topic and it resonated with me. A book I had been reading also had joy as one of their words for the year. All words kept leading back to joy.
So for 2012 my word for the year is joy and my theme verse is Nehemiah 8:10 “…This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
That is what I want the lessons of 2012 to teach me: To realize that every day is sacred to my Lord, to not grieve and to let His joy be my strength.
What about you – what lessons are you learning in 2012?