In my previous devotion, “I’ve Got the JOY…Down in My Heart,” I spoke of this powerful fruit of the Spirit, produced in us, chosen and redeemed children of God. And I posed a question: What can we do daily with the JOY that we’ve been given (because of the Hope of Christ living in us)? We make a choice every day (even minute by minute) whether to smile or frown, whether to bubble over with the joy inside or lock it up for no one to see. We have been empowered by His Holy Spirit, so how can we bear His fruit & share His joy? To start, we can - by the power of the Holy Spirit - have An Attitude of Gratitude! (Read more about this in my previous devo.) And there is more! We can…
See the Bless(ing) in the Mess! With God's help, you can choose to see the humor (and yes, even the blessing) in the midst of the messes in life - in difficult, stressful, or frustrating situations. Not because they're funny, but because you’re shifting your outlook. So…What are your messes?
ü Your teen is talking back to you…again. = This gives you the chance you’ve been looking for to practice your patience and “long-suffering” skills!
ü You are stuck in a long line at the store = What an opportunity to show Christian love to the frazzled young mom behind you, letting her go ahead of you with her 152 items in the 12-items-or-less lane (and helping her while you’re at it).
ü You are late for an appointment and stuck behind a driver going 15 m.p.h. = Envision this motorist with a full fish tank in his back seat and consider the fate of little Goldie goldfish!
(Okay, so I have chosen some silly examples to make you smile. Perhaps your messes are beyond compare with these.) A woman once spoke of her elderly father’s failing health, and how he taught her to rest in God's strength for the ability to rise above physical circumstances [to be able to shift her outlook!] to savor each moment and count her blessings, even in the midst of struggle.
Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I choose to deal with it.” Pray for the Lord’s strength to enable you to shift your outlook. To see the bless in the mess. And remember this truth: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
How might God use your “mess” for your good or the good of others? How might He turn a present mess into a future blessing?
Finally, to bear His fruit and share His joy, we can…
Make a Choice to Rejoice! With the joy of the Lord rooted deeply in your heart, by God's grace and in His strength, you can delight in each day: “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”. Psalm 118:24
· Don’t wait for the weekend or vacation to enjoy life - to let loose and laugh - to live life joyously!
· Don’t save the China for good company only.
· Don’t wait for an act of Congress to go out for a dialog date…or lunch…or coffee…
· Don’t delay renting that great movie with wholesome humor!
· Don’t wait for Sunday to dig into God’s Word where you will be blessed by His powerful messages to you. Delight in His Truth today.