Monday, April 12, 2010

Joy in the Spirit

By Odon Bulamba

Nehemiah 8:10b “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

What is this joy?
What is its origin?

This joy is from the Lord. It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit and must be in a believer’s life. There is another source of joy but it is a negative joy. This joy is from the world and should not be confused with the joy that Jesus gives. Joy from the world is only short-lived, whereas joy from God is eternal.

Actions of joy include smiling, being happy etc… Joy helps us to find that things are peaceful whatever situation you are crossing. Joy is a feeling, which comes from the human heart. You will feel able to do what you are supposed to do as a Christian. This is what joy will do – it will push you to really feel in your heart to praise God, to read His Word, to pray and to be serious about the commitment you made to Him.

When you are joyful, the decisions you make will be different to the time when you are sad. Because when you are joyful, you’re more merciful, kind and tolerant. But when you are sad or upset, it’s very different and others should watch out because you might react in a wrong way.

So joy of the Lord is a gift of the Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit which produces joy in your life. If you have the joy of the Lord, it makes you to worship God. And you will be happy to continue to pray etc… People can see the presence of God in their lives when they have the joy of the Lord because this joy pushes them to move on as Christians and God likes this. Joy will push you closer to God.

The life that we are living is it joyful or not? If not, what are the reasons? After finding the reasons, repent and ask God for joy. He is the only one who can give it. And also, we must have this joy for God’s work all the time. It’s not something you can hide. People want to find joy in other things – beer, money, etc... But in these things they will never find eternal joy.

Joy of the Lord is like a spring bubbling up from underneath the ground. The ground that the spring travels up through is brown and dirty but the water that comes forth is clean. The water doesn’t take the colour of the ground from which it came from but remains pure. Our bodies come from the ground and are dirty but this joy that comes out is clean and people will see this. This joy will transform people’s lives and help them to find solutions to problems. This joy will lead people to receive spiritual food from you. People will be attracted to be with you and give a good testimony about you to others.

When you have the joy of the Lord everything will be at the same level in your life. Hard things are only for a time because the joy carries on. It’s eternal. For every situation you cross, you must praise God. This joy will be expressed even in hard times. The joy that you will receive will make you strong and faith will wake up and start to work. When your faith is in action people will see you are strong. The joy of the Spirit will help you to have more strength and this strength is faith.

To be strong in the Lord is to have FAITH. Everything is possible for someone who believes. The main thing that causes us to lose strength is doubt. Satan will come and shake you because he can see you are more loyal to Jesus and he will try and make you doubt so you will lose your strength. When these doubts come, tell them to go away because you don’t accept them and they don’t belong in your life. Satan is trying to stumble your faith in Jesus and if you start to believe them you will lose your faith (which is your strength) and you will fall. Then you will struggle as a Christian because you have become weak. Now is the time to repent of doubting and ask God for your faith back. You will become strong again.

Another point is you must put shame aside For the glory of God you must put shame aside. When the shame is there, that’s the time to decide and tell your faith now’s the time to grow up. When God gives you these opportunities you’re faith will grow up. When we express our joy to people, that joy will give us faith, which is a strength. Through that faith we will act/preach etc…then there will be a transformation on the other side and the feedback will be joy and then we will testify. This is the basis of testifying.

Examples: people who are strong in sport are winners. People who are strong in studying get great marks. To succeed in every situation you must be strong. Strength works with techniques and skills. Our strength must work with the Word of God and this knowledge. A nurse reads, studies and then practices. Some theory must be there and the same applies with the Bible. The Bible will help us to know what to do at what time. Even if you see your situation getting worse, keep your faith and praise God.

Joy that comes from the world gives you some strengths also but not in a good way. Someone who is lying a little today will become a stronger liar later on in life. When you become strong in negative behaviour, it’s not easy to be free or to try and change. It’s a hard process to break free and you may need deliverance. Negative joy transforms people to become slaves of those things. The joy of the world is completely opposite to the Word of God.

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