As God’s people, we cannot go forward to fullness in Christ if we don’t increasingly separate ourselves from the spirit of this world. If we are not becoming more heavenly minded and less attached to worldly pleasures surrounding us, we will be drained of the joy of our salvation. The sad truth is, many believers are unable to enjoy their salvation because they neglect obeying God’s Word. Obedience to his Word is the place that blessing and joy begin!
Israel did not want to lose their great spirit of rejoicing so they assembled again to obey God on this matter: “Those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins” (Nehemiah 9:2).
Israel’s circumstances and trials didn’t change — God changed them. Nehemiah reminded a rejoicing Israel of how God had provided for their forefathers in the wilderness. The Lord had poured out manifold mercies on them. He had taught them by his Spirit and led them by the cloud and the pillar of fire. He had supernaturally provided them with manna and water. And, miraculously, he didn’t allow their clothes or shoes ever to wear out (see Nehemiah 9:19–21).
Likewise today, God has promised to pour out these same mercies on his people. In the midst of our afflictions, we must quietly go to God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit will write it on our hearts. That is how we begin to enter into his rest and peace.
How do we maintain the joy of the Lord? We do it the same way we obtained his joy in the beginning: We love, honor and hunger for his Word. And we continually walk in obedience by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only the joy of the Lord supplies us with true strength!