The joy of the Lord is my strength. A couple of weeks ago we had a young lady baptized at our church. She was so short that she almost floated when she tried to sink into the water. I think that she was about 7 years old. When the pastor asked her if she had received Jesus as her savior and Lord, she almost whooped with joy, declaring yes! yes! with a huge smile on her face and joy beaming out of her.
I thought of the verse that unless we become as little children we can not enter into the kingdom. (By the way I can recommend getting saved early and living your life focussed on the Lord.) I was 5 when I realized that I was a sinner in need of salvation and asked God the father to forgive me for Jesus’ sake. I find that I don’t have to use life energy fighting with doubts about Him, although I still struggle with doubts about me.
I’ve learned that the third component of iniquity is to obey with moaning and groaning. By God’s grace, I have learned to grab the fruit of the Spirit with gleeful gusto. The fruit are usually expressed most gloriously when they occur in contrast to the usual human response:
Abandon myself to loving the unlovely, finding joy in the midst of loss and struggle, letting his peace be my banner when attacked on every side, patiently ministering to the impatient, gentle with the rough, kind to the mean, when going through great loss, showing the great hope which balances my grief, working with creative energy to make my horrible boss look good.
I am not suggesting that I always feel fluffy joy, but it doesn’t hurt my witness if my joy shows more often. A smile doesn’t mean that there are no problems in my life, it means that I value the person I am passing because they are God’s children, so God helps me to make their day and pass on his joy with a smile.
The Bible says,”Lift up the hands that hang down.” Research shows that making my bed, putting on clean clothes, enjoying my breakfast, standing up straight and smiling, focusing on doing the little I can; these go a long way to help.
The religious people look miserable in order to get extra honor for their piety. I am to wash my face to be joyous and smile at those I don’t know, not just my friends. I need to sing hymns and joyous songs even when no one is listening, making a joyful noise unto the Lord in my heart.
The young girl being baptized could have focussed on the poor planning about the depth of the water, or been worried about being in front of the whole church and let shyness spoil her joy. Instead she let herself be excited about her Jesus and her salvation and the chance to witness.