We all need strength, don't we? We need strength to make it through an ordinary day. We need strength to make it through a horrific storm in life. We need strength to make it through the mundane and through the challenging.
We need strength to minister, to build a marriage and to parent well. We need strength to take care of aging parents and to be kind to teenagers with raging hormones.
I have discovered an extraordinary secret about strength in my over six decades of living.
The secret is this—joy always comes before strength. If I want to access the strength that has been apportioned to me by my Father, I must first choose to live in a continual state of joy.
There is no strength that is found in discouragement or worry. I have looked for strength in "thinking my way" out of a situation and it's simply not there.
Strength is not found in the cesspool of unforgiveness or the poisonous bottle of bitterness.
The only place where you will find strength is actually the exact same place where you will find joy!
Joy is the gateway to strength.
"In Your presence is fullness of joy" (Ps. 16:11).
If you need more joy, you simply need more of Him. Wherever He is, there is an exciting, contagious and perpetual resource of joy.
All the joy that you need this side of heaven is found in Him and with Him. Joy is not found in Hawaii, chocolate or finances. Joy is not discovered in losing weight, earning a degree or living in your dream home.
Let me say it again: All the joy that you need this side of heaven is found in Him and with Him.
"Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10).
In the natural, when we want to build our strength, we might choose to eat differently or exercise more often. However, in God's Kingdom, when we need more strength, what is required is that we must embrace greater levels of joy.
The enemy knows that joy is your source of strength, and that is why depression and discouragement is so rampant among God's children. The enemy will do anything to turn you into a weak, whining, ineffective Christian, and the primary way he does it is by stealing your joy.
"The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
Jesus made a way for you to live at full-power strength every day of your life on this side of eternity's shores. The way for you to possess a strength that will help you to get through, get over, go on and sometimes sit still is by choosing the joy of His presence!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written eight books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, Defiant Joy!, Holy Estrogen!, No More Ordinary, Refined, Joy For All Seasons, Let There Be Joy! and Pass the Joy, Please! which releases on February 1, 2018.Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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