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.

Remember that the fruit of the Spirit are usually expressed most gloriously when they occur in contrast with the situation and the usual human response:

Loving the unlovely, joy in the midst of loss and struggle, peace when attacked on every side. patiently ministering to the impatient, gentle with the rough, kind to the mean. The scripture says that we do grieve but, unlike the heathen, our grief is full of hope.

So I am not suggesting that we always feel fluffy joy, but it wouldn’t hurt our witness if our joy showed on our faces more often. A smile doesn’t mean that there are no problems in our life, it means that we value the person we are passing because they are God’s children, so make their day and pass on the joy with a smile. Lift up the hands that hang down. Research shows that making our bed, putting on clean clothes, enjoying our breakfast, standing up straight and smiling, focussing on doing the little we can; these go a long way to helping us function. The religious people look miserable in order to get extra honor for their piety. We are to be joyous and smile at those we don’t know, not just our friends. We need to sing hymns and joyous songs even when no one is listening, making a joyful noise unto the Lord in our hearts.

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.


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