How is your life's stress level, dear
reader? Is your life full
of joy and peace? Or are you suffering from lack of those
essential spiritual fruits??/
Joy and peace are spiritual
fruits? Yes, I believe they are, and
I will tell you why if you want to read on.
First of all it is important to
realize that joy and peace are not the
fruits of the abundant life or the so-called 'American Dream'. I
had the American Dream, and I was miserable. I was
raised in a nice small Mid-Western city in the USA. My parents
were nice, caring people, and my sister was a nice caring sister!
I was married to a nice caring wife, and we had a four year old healthy
happy son. We lived in our own home, and all of our basic needs
were constantly met.
You can read the details of my
conversion experience in other pages on
this website, but suffice it to say that when I asked Jesus Christ to
come into my heart to save my soul and to manage my life in a time of
personal desperation, a wonderful peace settled over and spread
throughout my life! I still have a picture in my mind of a big
bubble the size of an elephant settling down from above me, enveloping
me, and changing my life. That peace morphed into joy, and now,
thirty-seven years later, I still have a fundamental sense of joy and
peace in my life.
Since that experience at 3:00 p.m. on
Saturday, May 15, 1976, I have
come to understand some things about the sources of real joy and real
peace. Real joy and peace come from being united with God through
Jesus Christ by unconditional surrender to God's will, and faith in His
goodness and mercy so that God's joy and peace are manifested in one's
God's joy does not depend on
circumstance, but it does depend on one's
relationship with God. The same is true of real peace - it is not
circumstantial, but it is relational.
I find this best expressed by two
passages of Christian Scripture:
3:17-19 Though the fig
tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the labor of the
olive fails, and the fields yield no food. The flock is cut off from
the fold, and no herd is in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in Jehovah,
I will joy in the God of my salvation. Jehovah the Lord is my
strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make
me to walk on my high places. To the chief singer on my stringed
and Jesus said,
Mat 11:28-30 Come to Me all you
who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke
on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall
find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
You might notice in the first passage
that the circumstances of
Habbakuk's life are
complete adversity and emptiness. And yet the writer Habbakuk is
rejoice in the God of his Salvation!
You may notice in the second passage
that one must come to Jesus and
take His yoke upon oneself in order to find 'rest for ones' soul'.
How does one take these first
steps? I asked Jesus how to do so,
and He gave me the faith and understanding I needed to find peace and
Notice that I said 'first
steps'. I suspect that no one obtains
the fullness of joy and peace without growing in the righteousness of
God. I have had several specific breakthroughs of more
righteousness, peace and joy in my life, and maybe I will write about
them if I am able.
Until then, I commend you to Jesus to
show you the path that our
heavenly Father has planned for you, dear reader!