Devotion for March 11, 2023

“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.’” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This verse in Nehemiah connects the observance of a Holy day with the joy of the Lord. Our identity as “saints” (literally, “holy ones”), called to be holy, means we are and ought to be set apart from the world. But does that mean a solemn and joyless life of boredom as some have been led to believe? I have heard statements like, “I’m miserable, but at least I’m holy!” No, to be simultaneously holy and miserable is “oxymoronic” (if I may coin an adjective). It contradicts the very Spirit of God!

The Lord has given us life and life abundantly; [John 10:10] that is a life full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and self-control. [Galatians 5:22-23] When someone truly sets himself/herself apart for God and His purposes, he/she will be filled with God’s supernatural joy. It is not a superficial “happiness”, an inability to mourn or empathize with others in pain, but a deeply positive strength that comes from above, a joy that imparts God’s power by His spirit.

Holiness and joy are intimates. Turn your frown upside down and take hold of a deep spiritual truth, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Prayer

Lord, I want to live in happiness in the joy You give to me each day. Give me Your strength to live in Your holiness, and to sing praises to Your name always! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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