What does “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength” Mean?

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Nehemiah said, “…This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)

We’ve heard it, sang it, but what do the words “The joy of the Lord is my strength” really mean? For a long time I was clueless to its meaning. So…

What is the joy of the Lord?

Why is it my strength?


How can I get it?

Let’s look at a few Scriptures first.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith…may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Pet 1:3-4, 6-9 emphasis added)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (Jn 15:5, 11)

The joy of the Lord is not necessarily being happy about what’s happening. It’s a deep inner peace and contentedness despite our circumstances. It’s a joy resulting from our faith in and love for our Savior. We need to understand that our joy cannot be found in our circumstances, but in the Lord Himself.

If you are looking for happiness in your happenings, you will be greatly disappointed!

Now when you have the joy of the Lord deep inside your soul, you will have the strength to endure and persevere through life’s difficulties. You will have a living hope that a better day is coming; that this hardship will not last forever. You’ll be able to greatly rejoice despite heartaches because you know these trials are proving that your faith is a genuine saving faith, which will then result in much praise and glory to Jesus.

When you’re filled with joy and hope you will have the strength to keep on keeping on.

How do we get this joy?

By knowing (as I’ve mentioned numerous times before) that joy is not something you should try to get; it shouldn’t be the goal.

Rather it’s a byproduct of being and remaining in a right relationship with God.

As you connect and remain connected to the life-giving Vine (Christ), the fruit of His Spirit (Gal 5:22), which includes joy, will be produced in you by Him.

So my friend, if you are in need of strength today, if you don’t think you can take one more day of this life, find your strength in the joy of the Lord.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)


Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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