Today we continue our series entitled, “Grace and Truth” by continuing to look at by continuing to look at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus. Our main scriptures are John 1:14 & 17. Let’s look at them again.
(John 1:14 New International Version)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:17 New International Version)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
In this series we studied Galatians 3, 4, and 5. Yesterday we got to the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Although love is often listed as one of 9 fruit of the Spirit, I believe the way the Passion Bible lays them out is more accurate. God is love. Love is WHO He is, not what He does. So the Passion Bible lists love first, as who God is, and then calls the 8 fruit of the Spirit expressions of love. Today we discuss the first two expressions of God’s love: joy and peace.
(Galatians 5:22,23 The Passion Translation)
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.
So what does this mean for you today? It means we have the grace to operate in the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
1. A fruit of God’s Spirit and an expression of His love: joy that overflows.
a) To understand what joy is I believe we first need to understand what it is not. Joy is not happiness. Most people are familiar with happiness. Americans especially, because the phrase, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most familiar phrases in the United States Declaration of Independence; listed among our “inalienable rights”. The average person will tell you they just want to be happy. But for the believer, we must understand how joy is much better than happiness. Happiness comes from the Old English word “happenstance”. This is where we get “circumstance”. Therefore, happiness is contingent upon circumstances. If my circumstances are good, I can be happy. If my circumstances are bad, I may be sad. Happiness is contingent upon happenings. That being the case, we can see how fragile our happiness, and the pursuit of it, can be.
Joy, on the other hand, is not happiness. Biblical Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. God’s presence in us, enables us to operate in His supernatural joy. This joy includes the qualities of happiness, but it is not limited to conditional circumstances. This means I can be joyful, even when my circumstances don’t allow me to be happy.
A good way to explain this is by pointing out something Paul said to the church in Philippi when they were facing challenges. Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). Look at what Paul told them to do. He instructed them to rejoice. This word (re-joice) literally means to tap back into your joy. Since Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit lives in us, we can always tap into His joy. His joy is available to us every minute of every day. The same is not true with happiness. If something good happens and I get happy about it, when that happiness wears out that good feeling is over. Happiness is temporary. Joy is an everlasting well because the Holy Spirit will never leave us. I like to say: we can never re-happy, but we can always re-joice!
b) Not only does God give us joy, by His Spirit, but our text says that His JOY overflows in our lives. We have the grace to rejoice daily. Regardless of circumstances, situations, conditions, times or seasons, the joy of the Lord is always available to us, because we have His Spirit 24x7x365!
2. A fruit of God’s Spirit and an expression of His love: peace that subdues.
a) Receiving the peace of God is critical. The Apostle Paul, who wrote our text, operated in supernatural peace. He actually wrote many of the books of the New Testament while in jail or in dire conditions. He was able to do so because he had a peace that was not interrupted by conditions. Just like you can have JOY that is unconditional, you can have PEACE that is the same way, because PEACE is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. God’s peace enables you to “subdue” every temptation to fear or worry.
b) One time, while Paul was in jail, he wrote a letter to the believers in Philippi. He was in jail for preaching Jesus. In the midst of persecution Paul tells the Philippians not to be anxious about anything, but rather to invoke the power of God in their lives through the vehicle of prayer (Phil 4:6). Prayer puts us on the offensive. Prayer enables us to trouble our trouble. Prayer releases the Hand of God over our situation. Prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference.
Once we pray, once we know we have invoked the presence of God, then Paul tells us that God’s PEACE would guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Let’s take a closer look at this peace:
It passes all comprehension: God’s peace cannot be figured out. This is beyond human peace. God’s peace is supernatural. It baffles psychologists and psychiatrists. People cannot figure out how believers can seem so at peace in the midst of circumstances that bring others to their knees. For the believer, this is not something we need to try to figure out. Our job is to believe and receive it. We can receive a supernatural peace that passes all understanding!
It can guard our hearts and minds: The word translated “guard” in Phil 4:6 is a military term. It literally means ‘to pull guard duty’. It is like the peace of God pulls shift around our hearts and our minds to ensure we don’t slip into the grips of worry, fear, doubt or unbelief. This peace enables us to enjoy the inner confidence that God will see us through, no matter how difficult the situation may seem.
That’s enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for teaching me about the fruit Your Spirit produces. You are love and Your fruit are expressions of Your love. Joy and Peace come from Your Spirit. I declare that I have both operating in my life. I have supernatural joy. This joy is not contingent upon circumstances, situations, conditions, times or seasons. No matter what is going on, I can always RE-joice when I tap into the power of Your Spirit. I also have a peace that cannot be shaken, stirred or interrupted. Your peace is pulling guard duty around my heart and my mind every second of every day. I have peace internally, no matter what is going on externally. Because peace is a fruit of Your Spirit. I enter into this day with JOY and PEACE in believing! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!