When we think of spiritual disciplines, we usually think of work, boring, drudgery. But, when done correctly, spiritual disciplines can bring us great joy and be a great reason for celebration. In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, the people had rebuilt the wall and began a time of spiritual renewal. It was during this time that Nehemiah and Ezra called the people to celebrate.
“Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:9-10)
The people were able to celebrate because they were prepared. They had put in the time. The work was completed. And now was a time to celebrate. Not only were they ready, they also had the best reason to celebrate; they knew God and had heard his voice.
We often try to celebrate over without doing the necessary preparation. We want a microwave solution, the quick fix. But when it comes to spiritual disciplines, there is no such thing. It take time for our hearts to be prepared to receive all that God has.
Not only do we not prepare, but we also try to bypass the best reason to celebrate; knowing God! We cannot just simply invent a reason to celebrate. Even if we do, when the party is over, we know that there wasn’t any real significance to what we had celebrated. But when we begin to touch the heart of God, when we begin to see the world as he sees it, and we begin to love others as he loves, then we feel the joy within. Then we have a reason to celebrate.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that in life there are seasons. There are times we need to cry and mourn. But there are also times when we should be laughing and dancing. Allow the spiritual disciplines to move you deeper in faith so that you find the real joy and a real reason to celebrate!
As you think about celebrating, enjoy this: