First, I would like to apologize for my two weeks of tardiness. The Holiday season has already arrived at my house (Lord, help my family) which means that I have rethought my posting days and they will be moved from Fridays to Wednesdays so hopefully that will alleviate my current issues with posting. Now that that is out of the way let us begin.
For the last two Fridays I have been yearning to talk about happiness and joy. My dictionary definition for happiness is enjoying well being and contentment. My dictionary definition of joy is something that gives great pleasure or happiness. Now these are secular definitions, and if we look to the Bible we see that joy comes from the Lord. I feel affirmed that Webster’s has defined joy as something of greater feeling than happiness.
What gives us happiness very seldom gives us joy. For example, I love a Martini it is my choice drink now I am always happy to drink one but the next morning I don’t feel happy anymore and I most assuredly do not feel joy. I hate cooking it does not bring me happiness to cook, but I do cook because it gives me joy at the end of the night that I made a good choice despite the unhappiness I felt while slaving away around a hot stove. These are elementary examples but it is a good place to start. Now let’s expound on this principal.
Galatians 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is…joy. So we find as Christians we cannot achieve real heavenly joy except through the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit who gave Paul and Silas the praise (joy) after they were beaten and put in prison in Rome. It was the Holy Spirit who gave David the joy after Saul tried to kill him. It was the Holy Spirit who gave Abraham joy to go to the mountain in the early morning to slay his son Isaac. We need only to rely on His promises and His goodness through our trials to find the joy.
For two weeks I have been trying to put this into practice it is not easy I just want to call my friends and complain and compare whose day has been worse. It just came to me I should put a note on my phone saying “If it is not an encouragement then no need to tell it”. I love complaining it brings me happiness to complain and compare trials with like minded people and friends. We all do it to, but then your friend talks and their day is worse and now you are angry at their situation or upset with something that happened to them. It is negativity that you’re surrounding yourself in and surrounding them in and if anyone is in ear shot they too are involved in the negative. Negative is the opposite of the goal of joy.
So if we want joy we need to stay away from complaining; do you remember what happened when the Israelites complained? Lots of unfortunate things happened it is kind of like this when the Bean gets in trouble he gets angry and does inappropriate things sometimes in that anger. Then he has to get in more trouble for his lack of self control. That is what happened to the Israelites. They grumbled and got water and got quail but then they continued to complain and in Numbers 11 we see that God hears enough belly aching and he burns them with fire and until Moses prayed the Lord stayed angry.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit so there is no way that we can have joy except through the Spirit and we need to be continually in contact with the Spirit to get our fill of His fruits. How does one accomplish this? Ephesians 4:30 Tells us- do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you are sealed for the day of redemption. How does one grieve the Spirit well by not being in tuned with him or just rejecting his guidance completely. I have said it before and I am saying it again if you think that one hour and half service on Sunday morning is enough of the Holy Spirit and His presence then do not be surprised that he isn’t covering you completely. Like I said about organizing my house I had to give it to Him you have to give Him everything, not just the troubles but the good as well. If not then the Holy Spirit will only move as far as you allow Him to move. People who call God a dictator are always so shocking to me because God has never made anyone do anything. For example we as a nation told God to get out of our schools through banning prayer and banning the teaching of Creation. Then we wonder where is God when so many children call themselves gay, or get molested, try drugs, get pregnant, drink, dress inappropriately, or go and blow the heads off classmates and teachers and administrators. They ask “Where is God?” and my personal reply is you told Him to leave so He did; which isn’t a dictator’s kind of behavior.
We are facing rough days today and if you look to the future with open eyes they seem like they will be rough as well. But as Christians we are called to count it all as joy when you fall into various trials. (James 1:2). So I encourage you to start right there in your family to count it as joy with the help of the Holy Spirit when a full glass of milk falls on your freshly washed carpet. When your toddler finds poop and the toilet fascinating and has learned to open doors to the bathroom. When your husband forgets to grab dinner and you get to make dinner with a can of tuna and old bread and you promised pizza to the kids and everyone is upset. The flat tires and expired licenses it is all joy. If you practice on these annoyances you will be well ready when you face illness in yourself or a loved one. When you encounter a deep tragic loss, or something I can’t or won’t imagine that is utterly horrible; we are to count it all as joy.
I just pray to you Father that you help us not grieve your Spirit or quench your Spirit Lord. Help us ripen the fruit of the Spirit to maturity for we are called to grow in faith and not be infants for eternity. Give us the strength to be joyful; it takes Your help to get us where we need to go. We give are lives and be committed to your will Father. Give us a sensitive Spirit to do your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.