RSS

Tag Archives: happy

The Spirit-Fruit: Joy

I’m continuing my look at the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.  Today we’re going to talk about joy.  It’s another word that we take for granted because of the world’s usage of the word.

When we think about being joyful, most people equate it with being happy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  True joy has no connection at all with being happy.

The words happy and happen come from the same root word.  When something just happens it’s a random occurrence.  We get happy because something good happens.  Joy, on the other hand, has nothing at all to do with what’s happening around us.

The textbook definition of joy is to be calmly happy or well-off.  The fruit of joy goes a little further than that.

We need to understand God’s definition of joy.  Jesus talks about receiving His joy in John chapter 15.  It doesn’t take much reading to see that the main emphasis of that chapter was for us to remain in Christ.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
John 15:4

Here Jesus talks about remaining in Him and bearing much fruit.  So the fruit of joy must be included in that.  But what, specifically, about remaining in Him brings us joy?  The Lord goes on to talk about it with His disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
John 15:9-11

It’s a wonderful thing to be in Christ.  But there’s another step to take if you want His joy.  You have to cultivate that love relationship with Him.  That’s remaining in His love.

When you’re in a relationship with someone, then you know your place in that love.  In a relationship, I love you, and I know that you love me.  That’s what this joy is all about.

The joy of the Lord is the assurance from the Holy Spirit of who I am in Christ.  It’s knowing who Christ is, and who I am in Him.  If I’m in the Healer, then I’m healed.  If I’m in the Provider, then I’m provided for.

It’s the sense of well-being that springs from knowing who I am in Christ.  It doesn’t matter what comes my way.  If something bad happens; that doesn’t change the fact that I’m in Christ and He’s already provided the answer for it.

James understood this fact.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3

Why is a trial counted as joy?  Because it will show off the truth that I’m in Christ.  It will display who He is and why I trust Him.  What I’m going through will cause others to trust the Lord the way I do.

A great example of this was the Macedonian Christians that Paul bragged about.  When he was collecting an offering for the poor, he didn’t expect much from them, because they weren’t very wealthy.

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
2 Corinthians 8:2

Extreme poverty and rich generosity really shouldn’t be used to describe the same people.  That is unless they know who they are in Christ.  That makes all the difference.  That’s the fruit of Joy.

Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s joy operating through you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Encouragement, Faith, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Truth about Mountaintops – Clarity

 

ViewIn my last post I talked about how to climb to a spiritual mountaintop. You don’t just magically wake up there one day. You have to be intentional about doing the daily things that you know to do.

Today I want to expose another myth many people have about these spiritual peaks. They usually equate a mountaintop experience as an emotional high – a very happy time. As I said last time, you need to understand the physical to grasp the spiritual.

I’ve climbed many mountains, but I haven’t always been happy when I got to the top. I remember one time in particular when I fell and got a bad sprain on the trail. The only way back to the nearest road required me to continue up and over two mountains.

When I made it to the summit I was tired, hurting and very frustrated. In spite of this, what I found on the top was still the same as always. There’s something that happens that causes you to stop and take it in.

The defining characteristic of a mountaintop is this – clarity. Usually you get an unobstructed 360 degree view that goes on for miles. This is what being on the mountaintop is all about.

It’s the same for the spiritual. As we go through our daily routines, as boring and monotonous as they are sometimes, suddenly the view opens up. We hear from the Holy Spirit. We get a vision of where God is taking us to.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

The revelation talked about here is not for those who simply live for themselves with no thought to the spirit walk. God reveals His plan to those who through their daily walk with Christ climb this mountain of revelation. They’re the ones who see God’s plan for their lives.

There is one catch, however. When I stand on a mountaintop I can see the next few mountains that the trail will cross. What I can’t see is the trail itself. In spite of the great view, I don’t know the exact route I’ll take to get there. All I know is that if I stay on the trail, I’ll get to my destiny.

Another plus of mountaintop clarity is that you can see where you came from. There are times when we think that God is taking us the wrong way. But looking back from the peak I can see that there was a lake that I had to go around – that’s why it took so long. It’s always good to realize why God took you the way He did. It inspires faith for the future.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

God’s will is for all believers to live at this level of spiritual insight. This clarity in the spirit is a wonderful thing. Once you’ve experienced it, you don’t want to lose it. So remember, mountaintops are not about being happy, but having a clear vision of where the Lord’s bringing you to.

Question: How clear is your vision of your destiny in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Revival

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is Fasting for You? #spiritualfast

PlateDo you ever fast?  How often do you fast?  Do you fast regularly?  Weekly?  Monthly?  Why do you fast?  Why don’t you fast?  Is fasting even important in the life of the Christian?

I believe that fasting is one of the most powerful disciplines that you can participate in.  So, I’m going to deal with some of these issues in a series of posts.  Hopefully, by the end of this series, you will decide to fast at least one day a week.  Not only that, but you’ll look forward to fasting with expectancy in what it will accomplish in your life and ministry.

The Old Testament is filled with references about fasting.  I want to take this post to explain the Old Testament fast and how it relates to the New Testament.  As in all areas, whenever an Old Covenant teaching is studied, it must pass through the filter of the cross before we can apply it to our lives.  Only then can you know how much of it, if any, has a place in the New Covenant.

The first thing that should strike you as you study the Old Testament is that fasting was a very mournful experience.  Here are a few occurrences for you to look up.  In Judges 20:26, Israel fasted after a military defeat in order to gain a victory.  In I Kings 21:9, they fasted during a time of judgment in order to show their humility and repentance.  In Joel 1:14, it was to show repentance.

The principle found in I Samuel 31:13 shows fasting during a time of mourning.  In Daniel 9:3, he fasted to remind God of the promise to restore Israel.  Finally, Ezra 8:21 demonstrates humility before God in order to bring about the restoration of Jerusalem.

It’s clear from the above verses that a majority of the Old Testament fasting experience was one of mourning and humility before God.  Unfortunately, many Christians spend a lot of time getting all of their fasting theology from the Old Testament.

They think that they have to mourn over sin and fast in order to do “penance.”  They’re hoping that by doing something hard, they’ll obtain what they want from God.  In essence, they’re trying to get God to do something for them by doing something difficult for Him.  As you’ll see from Scripture, this is not the fast we’re called to.

Again the word of the LORD Almighty came to me.  This is what the LORD Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”
Zechariah 8:18-19

Zechariah was a prophet who ministered just before the “quiet time” between the Old and New Testaments.  During his time, a prophecy came forth that some day fasting was going to change.

Instead of the mourning that Israel was accustomed to, fasting was going to become a joy.  I believe that he was referring to the fast that we experience under the New Covenant.  That’s the fast I will talk about in the upcoming posts.

Question: What’s your fasting experience at this point in your Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,