But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. - Galatians 5:16
We don't have a lot that God has promised yet, but we do have His Spirit. So the question begs, if the very same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of me, why do I continue to struggle?
At the moment of our conversion, we get all of the Spirit. The Spirit who gives me strength to walk through my trials, and it gives me the supernatural fruits of love, joy, and peace. So why don’t we see more of the fruit in our lives? The problem is that the Spirit doesn't get all of us. That's why we still struggle with anxiety, anger, fear, despair, loneliness, and all those other heavy emotions even though we are filled with the Spirit.
When we find we struggle, it should be a huge red flag to look deeper into our heart. Our flesh and our Spirit are in constant battle, and when our flesh wins, we feel those defeated feelings. It's as simple as that. But we don't need to stay there. If we feel that way at any time, we can capture that thinking and look for where our hearts are getting in the way of the Spirit filling us. For us to be filled with the Spirit all of the time, we need to recognize these thoughts and confess them as sins. Then we need to ask God to fill us again - and He will. Those feelings will evaporate. So where do we look?
First and foremost, we need to recognize when we are resisting the Holy Spirit. When we have a conviction to do something, we may resist the conviction. We need to take hold of that resistance and submit to what the Holy Spirit is convicting us to do. We know we should call her, but we don't want to endure the uncomfortable conversation. We know we should go to small group, but we'd rather stay home tonight. We know we should get into the Word, but we'd rather hit that snooze button one more time. I'm currently struggling with this very thing - the Spirit is convicting me I should be doing something, and I'm resisting because it's hard and my flesh doesn't want to do it. So, I'm working on confessing the sin of resistance and asking God to fill me so full of the Spirit that the conviction becomes overwhelming to me and my flesh no longer desires to resist. When we resist what the Spirit is convicting us to do, we quench the Spirit and He becomes quiet.
When we resist the Spirit, we forfeit the filling of the Spirit. When we forfeit the fruit of the Spirit, and we become filled all those heavy feelings. Yesterday, we talked about love, the next fruit is joy. Joy is the supernatural delight in the person, purposes, and people of God. Notice the key word 'supernatural' - we cannot generate our own joy, only God can. Delight is choosing to see the positive in everything - this is something we can do. We can choose, despite our circumstances, to focus on the person of God. We delight in Him because He is good, He is faithful and loving, He is merciful and gracious. He is our Refuge, our Savior, our Father, our Teacher, our Counselor. We can also delight in His plan. We know He has a divine purpose to everything He has allowed into our lives, and we know that it is all for our good. He loves us, so He chastens us.
The first several times past James 1:2, I didn't really understand what it meant to consider it all joy, but I have been through enough trials in my life to understand His ways are always for my good. I may not understand them in the moment, but I know He has good for me - He's working on my heart or the hearts of people in my life, and and He brings such fruit through each and every trial. We should consider it joy that He loves us enough to chasten us, and know that if we're in a trial, He has something absolutely beautiful in it for us. Our brokenness is part of His plan.
And finally, we delight in the people of God. Our Father in heaven knows us so well, He knows exactly who to send into our lives to love us and encourage us, to point us back to scripture and to fix our eyes on Him. The people of God can help us to see God at work, and remind us of His divine plan.
Some confuse happiness with joy - happiness is not synonymous with joy. Happiness is a feeling in response to what is happening - it is a temporary emotion. We are happy when things work out the way we want, but we are never happy when we walk into a deep trial. But joy is a fruit of the Spirit - it comes only from Him. It is the knowing that God is at work in all things, and it produced the delight in the person, purpose, and people of God.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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