The strength we need to live a godly life does not come from excessive sorrow or despair, but from our joy in the Lord. Anyone can be unhappy and miserable. In fact, here is an oxymoron. It seems many believers are at their happiest point when they are sharing death and destruction and pain that has happened to someone. If this was not true the TV News channels would not report all the death and destruction, they would report all the good things that are happening in the world. Instead, they report 59 minutes of despair and leave the closing one minute for a feel good story. We need to walk in joy. We need good news. We need to be happy.
Despair does not promote growth.
Despair does not promote transformation.
Despair does not promote thanksgiving, praise, and worship.
Despair knows no victory over temptation and trial.
Joy is the fruit and power of the Holy Spirit that produces a successful, victorious, fruit-bearing Christian.
It has been my conviction that the reason why many of our brethren do not grow spiritually and do great works for the Lord is because they lack the spiritual fruit of the joy in their lives.
Paul says this about the Kingdom of God.
Romans 14:17 ESV For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Why then are so many members of the Lord’s Church lacking in peace and joy? Well, part of the problem may be that we lack pulpit preaching that focuses on generating peace and joy within our brethren. There is a lot of preaching about the end times in these days. Some from the "pre-tribulation" camp and some from the "post-tribulation" camp.
In both I have seen and heard a lot of "FEAR" messages in bringing forth their point-of-view. Whatever your "end-time" position we are not to be driven by the fear of these last days. We are not called by God to be survivors, but overcomers. We are not to fear the future, but we are to fear God. Life in our Lord Jesus Christ is not a life that is miserable, dry, negative, and defeated. Our life in Christ is filled with joy.
1 Peter 1:8 ESV Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
One of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is JOY which is also the character of God. I think that we need to examine our ministries and see how we might foster joy and peace in our membership. We have got to understand that "the joy of the Lord is the our strength" and "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me". If I really want to do the "all things" I need my Lord's strength. If I want His strength then I need to walk in His joy.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.