Joy · Obedience · Strength

the joy of the Lord…

…the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV
The joy of the Lord… it is our strength…
And what brings the Lord joy…?
The context of this verse in Nehemiah is repentance…
After returning from exile…
the people heard the law
its reading… and teaching…
saw their failure to obey…
and wept…
They were grievous over sin…
their spirits… and hearts… repentant…
This is when Nehemiah said…
“… And do not be grieved,
for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV
This has been my understanding…
sin exposed… bringing godly sorrow… repentance…
blesses the Lord with joy… 
His joy gives the penitent… strength…
strength to turn around… obey… 
But I now see another aspect of bringing the Lord joy…
just plain obedience…
Obedience… in pursuits… calls… He puts on our hearts…
Obedience… when it doesn’t make sense to us…
Obedience… not centered on repentance… but His invitation… 
Obedience… when it’s not anything you particularly want to do… but feel His pressing… to do…
I’ve experienced this in the last year and a half…
pursuing an opportunity…
joining a friend in business…
and in the process feeling moments of inexplicable joy…
Not fleshly happiness…
but a deep… seated in the heart… joy…
feeling like something other than me…
Over the last few weeks… I’ve felt a calling to something new… not anything I feel particularly interested in doing… but the idea… it just won’t go away…
I’ve shared the idea with my husband…
and with a friend…
it’s not an idea for major ministry…
or even great sacrifice…
just an odd thought… that won’t go away…
Neither thought it as crazy as I do…
Neither said… Well that’s just dumb…

So… in simple obedience…
I took first steps to follow through on the call…
and already… I feel it…
joy
Odd… inexplicable… joy…
that does not manifest from my flesh…
but… clearly… from His Spirit…
And with His joy…
the strength… dare I say… excitement…
to do… what He’s calling me to…
A new facet…
glimmering in His Word…
In simple obedience…
His joy… my strength…

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