Spotlight 16: Joy is strength

In our Spotlight series, the District Apostles are asked to express their thoughts on our 2015 motto “Joy in Christ”. This time, it is District Apostle Michael Ehrich’s turn. He is from the south of Germany.

According to Nehemiah 8: 10, the joy of the Lord is the strength of the believers. The reverse of it is also true. If we relate it to us it means that if this joy diminishes or fades entirely, we become weak. But who of us would not like to be strong?

“Joy in the Lord” is a kind of joy that goes beyond the things that we normally delight in. Already in a family or among a group of friends everyone feels differently about things. What makes the one really happy and leaves him in high spirits might leave another completely untouched. And some really have little reason to be happy. But joy in the Lord is something that we can all have.

Joy in the Lord, our strength: how do we achieve it?

The gospel, the glad tidings, is the joyful message that the Saviour was born, that He died for the salvation of man, and rose again. Joy in the Lord is joy over the fact that God will not abandon us, that He loves us and cares for us. This is something we experience in a special way in divine service and in Holy Communion. Another reason for joy is that we can also tell Him everything in our prayers and trust in Him. And we have every reason to rejoice because Jesus Christ will return.

If we make ourselves aware of these sources of joy, it can contribute to an overall positive and joyful sentiment that makes us inwardly strong.

There will be a surge in growth if we manage to overcome the one or other thing that does not coincide with the will of God or His commandments. There will also be a surge in growth if we stick to the divine values despite trials and temptations, do good and help our neighbour, involve ourselves in the congregation and at the same time give all glory to the Lord, defend the gospel, and profess the Lord in all we do and say … That makes us joyful and strong in faith.

Is there something that we can do to preserve this joy? Yes, for example, if we have problems and worries, if there are misunderstandings and friction in everyday life, let us get our priorities straight and look beyond the earthly—which ultimately is unimportant anyway—and focus on the Lord and on our future with Him.

If we were to allow negative thoughts—as justified as they may be—to take a grip on us, say because of problems that have arisen in the congregation, our joy could suffer. It could also suffer if we stop with our efforts to grow into the nature of Jesus Christ because of set-backs and disappointments. But even if our joy diminishes now and then, we have the absolute certainty that the Lord accepts us in His love if we come to Him in humbleness and faith.

Photo: Jessica Krämer

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Michael Ehrich