The View From Here

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt.4): Peace

Peace is sought after by leaders of the world like the elusive Bigfoot, but no one can ever seem to find it. Despite bumper-stickers proclaiming peace, signs promoting peace and tattoos making the ultimate statement for peace, it still eludes the world. Yet the Bible makes the bold declaration to the followers of Jesus: “The peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)

But if you are normal there are times when that peace seems to elude you, too. When bills are due, the baby is sick, the car won’t run, the job is hard, etc. you can easily begin to wonder, “Where’s the peace?” Oswald Chambers said it so well, “Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.”

When we make our focus the Lord Jesus Christ, when we keep our eyes on Him and our heart aligned with His will, we will find that we have a peace beyond understanding guarding our hearts. One person said it this way, “Look at Christ and the dove of peace flies in—look at the dove of peace and it flies away.” We don’t focus on the peace, we focus on the Christ.

Two statues on a street in New York City help to illustrate the point. On the RCA building is a statue of Atlas struggling to hold the world on his shoulders. Across the street is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There a small statue of Jesus shows Him holding the entire world in one hand. Make peace your focus and you have a heavy load to bear, too heavy, really. But make Jesus your focus and he’ll carry the burden for you. “My yoke is easy, my burden is light, “Jesus says.

Life is challenging but Jesus gives us an unexplainable peace in the midst of all the chaos. Just like the eye of a hurricane, we can be surrounded by destruction but calm on the inside. It is a fruit of the Spirit so enjoy your privilege in Christ.

 

Posted by Bill Knepper with

The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3): Joy

The second characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit is Joy.  Joy is a Christian’s word, while happiness, on the other hand, is the world’s word.  The New Testament doesn’t use the word happiness or even promise it.  It uses the word joy.  Happiness is the result of what happens, but joy comes from deep inside.  It is a spring that never runs dry, no matter what happens.  Only Jesus gives joy.

 What is joy?  Joy is our reaction to are freedom in Christ!  The freedom Jesus provided us when He died for us on the cross.  Now we don’t have to pay the price for our sins.  Jesus paid it for us.  So there should be joy in our hearts.  We should live like we are joyful.  We should be thankful for the freedom we have and the many blessing we have in this life.  We have joy in God’s grace.  We don’t deserve what he did for us.  If we got what we deserved, we would never, never see heaven.  Doesn’t this make you joyful?

 It’s hard to be joyful in the hard times, but we should have joy knowing that God is walking with us through them.  God uses every trial to help us become stronger in your faith.  No matter how bad things get in this life, God still has the power to heal and deliver us.  He can still restore us, if we open our hearts to him.  God can restore our joy in Him.  The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, work with the Holy Spirit and  He will fill you with joy.  “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”  (James 1:2-4)

 The Bible tells us time and time again to “rejoice.”  To rejoice means have joy and to be joyful.  We are commanded to be joyful, and with God on our side, we have no reason not to be joyful. “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever.  May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You.”  (Psalm 5:11)

 We are given joy in many ways.  There is joy in prayer, worship, and in love.  We show joy in giving, God loves a cheerful giver.  We show gratitude to God and to others by accepting everything with joy.  Never let the dreary things in life fill you with sorrow and make you forget the joy of the fact that Jesus is Risen!  1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to rejoice always!

 Be joyful!  Sing praises to God!  “Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.”  (Psalm 98:4).  You don’t have to sing on key, hold a tune, carry a beat, or have a beautiful voice to sing praises to God.  God looks at our hearts and He wants us to praise Him and be joyful when we do it. 

 I love to sing in church and in the car with my radio.  I know my voice could be a lot better, but I sing joyfully from my heart and that’s what God wants.  Then one day when I get to heaven, God will give us all beautiful voices.  Until then I will sing with joy in my heart and that’s all that matters.

 Never forget the source of your joy.

 

How deep does your joy go?

How do others see joy in your life?

How could your life change to be more joyful?

 

“Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
Acknowledge that Yahweh is God.
He made us, and we are His —
His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal;
His faithfulness endures through all generations.”  (Psalm 100)

Posted by Rodney DeJager with

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