Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy and Peace (Audio)

This is the second sermon in a series that I have titled "The Fruit of the Spirit is the Fruit of a Holy Life" and it covers Joy and Peace.

Like last week's sermon on the first flavor of the Fruit, love, joy and peace are flavors that are nuanced in scripture and are deeper in meaning than what our one word can cover.

Too often when we think of "joy" we think of happiness. While it's true that joy can have happiness as a part of it, it is not an all-encompassing definition of joy. Happiness, though good, is not something that has at its core a spiritual element, and is fleeting. When we think about the things that make us happy, would we say that there is never a time when that particular thing always makes us happy? Happiness, or perhaps the state of being happy, is a relatively short state.

Joy on the other hand can be experienced even when unhappy things are occurring. Take for example a funeral for someone who believed in Christ as Lord and Savior. The event is a rather sad one, and it would not be out of place to shed a few tears for our departed love one. But, they being a believer do not find death to be permanent, although there may not be life in their mortal body. And if we too believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, though the occasion might be sad, we can take joy in knowing that we will see them again.

In the book of James, chapter 1, James talks about trials which bring about perfection, and that they ought to give us joy when we're going through them. Again, it's not about being happy, but it's about assurance that we have something within us that isn't tied to the external, ever changing world.

Likewise, peace is in many cases the absence of fear, or fighting, or war. But as we were reminded just this past week, there are evil people in our world who seek only to do that which is evil, having no regard for their actions and consequences and being indifferent to the suffering or death they cause.

When peace is simply presented as an absence of that, you end up with a superficial view. The peace that scripture describes though is one that does not fear the events happening in our world as our assurance does not rest in the might of governments, or a military, or armaments. Though it encompasses a ceasing from hostilities, it is much deeper and broader in scope, going so far as to describe knowing that we can rest fully in God's protection.

Here is today's audio from the sermon. I hope you will listen to it and enjoy.

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