Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Fearlessly forward – Day 4

Fearlessly forward with joy in your heart

Bible text(s)

10Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who haven't enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don't be sad. The joy that the LORD gives you will make you strong.”

Nehemiah 8:10GNBOpen in Bible reader

16Be joyful always,

1 Thessalonians 5:16GNBOpen in Bible reader

24This is the day of the LORD's victory;

let us be happy, let us celebrate!

Psalms 118:24GNBOpen in Bible reader

A can of spinach. This is what the animation hero, Popeye, needs to change from an ordinary sailor into a man with a strong forearm within a few seconds, that sets his enemies to flight. It is therefore understandable that enemies of Popeye would try and eliminate spinach as far as possible to ensure success in an attack.

Joy in our lives is the same as the spinach for Popeye. It is our strength that helps us maintain perspective during the most challenging situations. It reminds us that God is sovereign and able to make everything work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

In Nehemiah 8:10, Nehemiah tells the Israelites not to lose their joy: “Be not grieved, for the joy of the Lord — is your strength”. When we lose our joy, we not only become powerless; we also move out from under God’s protection to become an open target for the enemy.

How does the enemy steal our joySatan knows our weaknesses and attacks us in those areas. He wants us to worry and fear the worst in all situations. For example, if you are struggling with a low self-esteem, he will make you believe that your colleagues who are standing in a circle talking and laughing, are gossiping about you — while they may not even be mentioning your name. Or you would open the newspaper and read about land reform, corruption or murder and suddenly start worrying about your future and the future of your children in our country. Or you feel sick and the doctor sends you for tests. Before any results come back, you expect the worst and allow worry to consume you, while sharing your fears with everyone around you — instead of trusting God for a good result.

How can we restore our joy? In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 we read: “Be happy always.” Happiness is a conscious choice, not a feeling. We must choose daily to be happy. How do we do it amidst a dark situation? We deliberately look for things in our lives we can still be grateful for — and we start to thank God for it. Another way is to write down God’s characteristics and meditate upon them. It will remind us of God’s power and ability to establish a breakthrough while saying like the psalmist: “This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Let’s eat our spinach as we make joy a priority in our lives. Not only do we move back under the protection of God; we also get a forearm like Popeye’s to set our enemies to flight when they try to harm us. God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
Find us on