Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Joy of the Lord

Thursdays - Devotions for Writers

“The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10 NIV)

Do song lyrics or Bible verses float into your thoughts from who-knows-where?

A few days ago the words, “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” popped into my head. As a vocalist on a worship team, I value music’s influence on memory. I knew there was a song that spoke about the joy of the Lord, but wasn’t sure if those words were actually included in the Bible.

I found them in Nehemiah 8.

To me, the words have always meant that if I stayed close to the Lord I would be okay. No matter what struggles, challenges, or heartbreak I faced. That with the joy given me through just knowing Him and having Him in my heart, I would have enough strength to get through tough times.

But the verse stayed with me and began to take on additional meaning.

You see, my original interpretation only focused on how the joy of the Lord could help me get through difficult situations.

It was all about ME.

What if we turned it around and put the focus on our Lord? What if we are also strengthened by giving HIM joy?

Let’s relate this to writing.

We sit in front of our computers and pray that God will give us the words and bless our efforts. Why? So we can be published, get our work read, and feel like we’ve made a difference in people’s lives. We may even have a strong desire for people to know and love God. But the temptation is still there for it to be about us and what WE accomplish.

What if, instead, we focused ONLY on pleasing the Lord and giving Him joy? What if we kept that as our motive for writing – whether the work is published, or not?

Think about it . . .

Any writing that could do that would be strong and powerful. Any writing that could bring joy to our Lord would be life changing for both the reader and the author.

The joy of the Lord can be your strength.


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