Peace and Joy
The ‘Peace and Joy Principle’ was taught recently by one of my Biblical Counselling lecturers – Joe Propri, and it is a simple and incredibly helpful biblical truth - My peace and joy do not depend on anything but operating in the Spirit. In John 14:27, Christ says to His disciples “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Also, in John 16:33 He says to them, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I know that Jesus can give me peace amidst it. His people can have contentment and joy regardless of the circumstances. My peace and joy depend only on my relationship with God.
Romans 8:28 and 29 (ESV) offer further comfort - “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” These verses must be read and understood together. Hardships may grieve us, but we can, like Paul, be content with what God has given, even if it is only clothing and food (1 Timothy 6:8), for we – God’s children, know that God works out all things to conform us to Christ – for our good, and His glory.
I know that I am walking in the Spirit when I demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit – peace & joy (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control). I know I am switching from Spirit to flesh when I demonstrate the fruits of the flesh, such as frustration, anger, impatience, depression, bitterness, etc. What do I do when I notice the shift of beginning to walk in the flesh? I must stop and remind myself that my peace and joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I must ask myself the following questions:
1. What does God say about this trial?
2. What should Christ in me do?
Then I must will to do what God would have me to do.
It is possible to carry out challenging responsibilities with the fruit of the Spirit. Applying this principle will radically change any believer’s life. Believers applying this principle will radically change the life of the church. We can be of good cheer in difficult circumstances because God is on the throne!
Temptation can feel like shooting arrows that trigger sinful responses. We must identify the arrows in our lives and prepare to deal with them in a righteous way. We must take full responsibility for our responses. Our obligation is to walk in the Spirit, and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 – “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” By living in this way, we will always have peace and joy.
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