Saturday, October 8, 2011

Joyful Spirit

Constructive criticism given by a friend rubs you the wrong way. You respond in anger or withdraw, mumbling under your breath, shaking your head, thinking “How could you”. The drive for perfection leads you to accuse those around you of not carrying their weight. Feeling hurt or betrayed by the one you love, you draw into a shell and cut off communication. Acrimony, jealousy, pride, tension, and bitterness are just a few of the negative emotions or moods that allow Satan to poison our relationships with others. As children of God, we have one thing that others do not. We have a Savior that gave Himself for us. We have the promise of eternal life with our Father if only we believe. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11, “But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Sometimes, we do not, in fact, lift each other up. When the evil one takes advantage of our failings, we become the selfish beings that rebel against our God. Instead of filling our heart with His Spirit, we allow our own selfish cravings to let Satan in and ignore the Spirit.

Psalm 147:1, 7, “Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! 7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.” Praise Him with a joyful heart. Every time we sing praise to our Lord, let our hearts be filled with His love and let us share that joy with everyone in our Father’s house. Romans 15:32, “Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.” As Disciples of Christ we need to encourage our brothers and sisters, and it is so important to do so with a glad and joyful heart, for we praise the God of all creation that sent His son as a sin offering in our place. So, put aside those things of this world and proclaim the joy that our Lord has placed within our hearts. Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Let us hold fast to the words of the Holy Spirit inspired authors of Scripture. Whenever two or more are gathered in our Father’s name the Spirit will also inspire us to give glory to Him. We should not simply sing praises to God, but use our voices to open hearts and minds to the power of the Holy Spirit, to lead them to understand God’s will and open an avenue to begin or enrich a personal relationship with Him.

Relationships can become strained when the Spirit becomes secondary within that relationship. Endeavor to fill your hearts with the Spirit, leaving no room for the evil one to upset that balance. We sing our praises to God and not any earthly authority. There is no room for disagreement when we fill our hearts with the Spirit. There is no room for petty bickering when we lift us our songs of praise to the Lord. Pray that His Spirit guides us to offer praises worthy of our God. Psalm 113:1-3, “Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” Dwell in His word and meet regularly with other believers in prayer and praise. When we follow our Lord’s will, there is no room for the things of this world that Satan can use to cause us harm. Idle minds are the Devil’s workshop, so fill your heart and mind with the love that can only come from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Once we are truly at peace with our God, the things of this world simply no longer seem so important. Reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ with a heart filled with the love that can only come through a right relationship with Jesus. Sing to the Lord with a joyful heart and joyful spirit. All glory and honor to the one who gave His life so that we may live.

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