And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 35:8-10 NIV)
Over the next few weeks I'm going to look at the fruit of the Spirit. When we allow God to be a Father to us, we make room for the Holy Spirit to live in our heart. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of sonship who enables us to cry 'Abba, Father', the cry that recognises we are sons and daughters and that God is our real Father. This cry is the result of an awakening to and awareness of the reality of being loved. We can say the words, but without the Holy Spirit at home in us they are just words. These are more than words though, they are a cry which is connected to the source of life, they are words that declare "I'm alive".
When we know we are loved, when we experience perfect love our hearts will come home. When a heart comes home it can be filled with joy. This is not a joy based on our external circumstances or how we happen to feel on any given day, but it is a heart filled with the Holy Spirit. The wonderful thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that it is his fruit and not ours. It is not dependent on us but on him. That's why it's possible for you to be joyful even when you are walking through the midst of difficulties.
This is why Nehemiah could say 'the joy of the Lord is your strength' (Nehemiah 8:10) or Malachi could describe us a young calves leaping out of the stable (Malachi 4:2). King David, in his prayer of repentance, asks that the joy of God's salvation would be restored to him (Psalm 51:12). He was not looking for his joy to be restored but the joy that comes from knowing Almighty God is your Father.
My prayer today, is that we would not seek to make ourselves joyful but would rather allow his joy to rise up within us and to be the source of our life. It is not our joy we seek, it is the joy of the Lord.
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Mark Gyde - A Father to YOU Events