Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 8, 2012

A Radiant, Joyous Life in Christ, by David Bower

 Laughter is Highly Contagious

The first line of the poem, “Solitude,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) is “Laugh, and the world laughs with you: Weep, and you weep alone.” We can all relate to that especially when we see a baby laughing at something; it is so easy to smile and to even laugh out loud as the baby enjoys and reacts to what is happening.

 This is also true with a smile; I know when someone smiles at me it is the most natural thing in the world for me to smile back. Smiles and laughter are happy things and deserve to be spread around in this too often somber world in which we live.

My personality type is reserved and introspective; it is not natural for me to be up front in a group but to sit quietly at the back observing what is going on at the time. Being a quiet type does not indicate what is going on in my mind however. My mind may be enjoying a gathering in my way almost as much as the most outgoing personality in the room it just may not be obvious to an observer.

When we speak of happiness and joy each of us may have different ways of displaying those emotions. What is most important is what is going on inside us; joy and happiness is constructive to our psyches whereas misery and unhappiness is damaging in many ways.

While it is possible to put on a fake smile and try and fool others we cannot fool ourselves with our fake smiles no matter how hard we may try. Each of us knows from our own experiences the dramatic differences our feelings have on our bodies. Joy and peace is uplifting but general discontent, shocking events, and unhappiness is physically debilitating and can even cause sickness on occasion.

The Bible addresses this phenomenon in Proverbs 17:22 we read, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

What Does the Bible say About Christian Joy and Happiness?

Probably the first verses that will come to all of our minds are those in Galatians on the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

I believe we’ll all agree this is the complete opposite of the fake party smile that may be worn by some in public situations or the fixed grin of a politician running for office. To actually have the fruit of the Spirit as your normal characteristic is a worthy goal for all. The love, joy, peace, patience and other qualities are those qualities which the world in all of its deceptions always promises but never actually delivers.

Choosing the Right Foundation for Building Joy into Your Life

Each of us can remember times when our entire beings felt filled with joy and happiness and a sense of well-being. It is this feeling that God wants His children to experience as their normal, default, position; this is the Christian way of life.

Paul brings this up again in Philippians 4:4 where we read, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” So let’s analyze this; when are we supposed to rejoice? Always! In what are we supposed to rejoice? The Lord Jesus Christ!

When, on the other hand, are we supposed to walk around with a glum face looking like we’re carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders? Never! That’s really not too complicated to understand, is it?

I’ll agree that circumstances can range from good to intolerable and if we’re basing our joy and peace on circumstances we’re surely in for a roller coaster ride but that’s not what God has in mind for us. He loves you as His child and He wants the best for you therefore He tells you to rejoice in the Lord because the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever.

The One who never changes provides a much surer and a much more rational foundation for rejoicing than circumstances. Building your foundation for rejoicing on circumstances is like the builder who built his house on the sand; the storms came and it all tumbled down. 

The Walk of Faith

We can all agree that the fruit of the Spirit is precisely as described in Galatians. The question then comes why do not all Christians seem to enjoy the fruit of the Spirit as a normal part of their lives? This question introduces the problem of sin.

The fruit of the Spirit can only be manifested in the life of the Christian when the Holy Spirit is in control of their lives. The power of the Spirit is quenched when we have unconfessed sin in our lives. When that happens our old man, the old sin nature, can take control and make us feel miserable. God knew we would have a problem and addressed that problem and provided a solution for His children.

Confession of Sin to God

In 1 John 1:8-10 we are told of the problem and God’s solution to the problem. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

What are we being told here? We are all sinful creatures by nature and we have all sinned; if we say we aren’t or haven’t we make God a liar. It is important to understand that although we have been declared righteous from the perspective of our eternal security as a child of God, we must still deal with the daily struggle of our life in Satan’s world sabotaged by an internal nature toward sin. This has everything to do with quality of life and nothing to do with salvation!

God’s solution to this problem is simple; we simply acknowledge our sin to God and God is faithful and just to restore the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives along with the fruit of the Spirit. Remember, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” so I utilize 1 John 1:9 many times a day and I’m an old retired man living at home.

God, in His grace, has provided all you need to live a joyful life of peace and kindness if only you will call on the resources that He has made freely available to you. Don’t waste your one chance at a quality, Spirit led life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   

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