Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
We have covered the first three thus far. Today we are looking at the fourth: Leveling up internally. In this section, I will cover the following:
1. Being anxious for nothing
2. Receiving unshakable peace
3. Joy and peace in believing
4. Relaxing your mind and getting physical/psychological rest
5. The highest form of faith is rest
Today’s message deals with the third, joy and peace in believing.
Setting the stage:
We have been looking at Romans 15:13. Today we will add Gal 5:22 to it, and then seek to glean a few things from both.
(Rom 15:13 NASB)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Gal 5:22 NASB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
We have already talked about peace a great deal in this series. I trust that by now you understand how the peace of God is supernatural. Let’s get to that level of understanding where God’s joy is concerned.
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 famous lines in the Declaration of Independence of the United States, listed among our “inalienable rights.” The average person will tell you that they “just want to be happy.” But for the believer, we must understand that while happiness is good, joy is much better. Why? Because the word happiness comes from the Old English word happenstance, where we get circumstance. Therefore, happiness is contingent upon circumstances. If my circumstances are good, I can be happy. If my circumstances are bad, then I may be sad. This makes happiness is contingent upon happenings. That being the case, we can see how fragile and whimsical our happiness, or the pursuit of it, can be.
Joy, on the other hand, is not happiness. Joy is a state of being. Our text tells us that God’s joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit Himself, God’s presence in us, enables us to operate in His supernatural joy. This joy includes the blissful qualities of happiness, but it is not limited to its conditional circumstances. Therefore, I can be joyful, even when my circumstances don’t allow me to be happy.
A good way to explain this is to point out something Paul said to the church at 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, where joy is an everlasting well. See, I can never re-happy, but I can always re-joice!
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. My internal condition, as a Born-Again believer, is disconnected from external pressures.
2. My international state, as a Born-Again believer, is not contingent upon external variables.
3. Happiness is driven by external conditions. Joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is inside of me every second of every day, I can always RE-JOICE! I cannot re-happy, but I can RE-JOICE at any moment!
4. People think peace can only come when they have a few minutes of alone time or quiet, or when they are at the beach or on vacation. But God’s peace is not driven by external conditions. You can tap into God’s peace every second of every day.
5. Many believers, who do not understand the supernatural nature of God’s joy and peace, allow the external (what is going on on the outside) to dictate their internal (what they have going on on the inside). This is not God’s best.
6. People who rely on human peace and earthly happiness are forever attempting to manipulate the external conditions to be favorable so that they can have internal happiness and peace. But as a believer, you don’t have to live your life focused on the external. While it is great to go on vacation, to spend time at the beach or the lake, or go to the spa, as a believer, you should not wait for just those moments to have joy and peace. You have access to God’s joy and peace every second of every day.
7. If you need everything on the outside to be good for you to have internal satisfaction and rest, you will live a life that is externally driven and not internally fueled.
8. If your life is externally driven (and not internally fueled), the devil will be able to manipulate you easily because he is able to manipulate and orchestrate external conditionals through the people who are easily influenced by his impulses. Those people are all around you. The devil can pull strings through your employer or your employees; he can do it through your boss or co-workers; he can work through your community and the economy. So, if your internal peace is contingent upon external conditions, you are completely susceptible to satan. Satan is a master manipulator, and he will pull strings, only to watch you react time and time again.
9. The good news is that you can have JOY and PEACE in believing. God’s JOY is not contingent upon happiness or happenings. God’s peace does not rely on external serenity to be in operation. You can be in the middle of a storm and still REJOICE! You can be in the middle of chaos and have divine PEACE!
This is the will of God, and I will stop here. This is enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I declare that Your joy is my strength, and Your peace is the fuel that drives my soul. I thank You for the times I can be happy, but I am not limited to mere happiness. I have Your Spirit in me, and I tap into the power of Your Joy continually. I rejoice in You always. Your joy bubbles over in my soul to the point where I am not moved by external circumstances or conditions. Your peace is pulling guard duty around my heart and my mind. Therefore, I am not moved by what I see. I believe and speak the Word only! And I refuse to allow what I see (with my natural eyes) to change what I say (by faith) or what I expect from You. I have joy and peace in believing! I abound in hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit! Living this way, I LEVEL UP my life in 2021! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith, in Jesus’s name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!