Strong spirits: joy

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Photo: Kate Ter Haar

What is it that makes your spirit strong? What gives you the energy to get up and do what needs to be done?

No doubt there are several answers to that question. In the Old Testament of the Bible, the priest Ezra and the Governor Nehemiah summed it up in one word- joy! 

"The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong." (Nehemiah 8:10).

Now if you think about it, it is true, isn't it? When you are full of joy, you feel like you can do anything. You have energy for your usual tasks and energy to spare. But what is the source of this joy? It is God himself...

"May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice!" the apostle Paul (Philippians 4:4)

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." Jesus to his followers (John 15:11)

Joy is a gift God gives us. It is also a fruit of abiding in him. It is also a choice that we can make, to receive this gift he offers. There are certainly times when joy is hard to find. In those times, at all times, ask God for his gift of joy, and choose to willingly receive it. His joy is our strength.

Besides serving as pastor at Caledonia Congregational Church, Gary Schwerin is the Spiritual Development Minister for the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and Executive Director of Bridge Ministries of Rockford. Prior to launching Bridge Ministries, Gary spent many years in leadership with Young Life. His columns appear here every Sunday - to see them all, subscribe to our daily email.

Here's Gary's latest message about joy. Watch his other short videos on Facebook.

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