Monday, December 31, 2012

the thing about JOY

As I stood in front of the mirror this afternoon in my bath robe, the water just beginning to dry in my hair, I picked up my brush. My hair sat damp, with a mess of tangles, just as it always does after a shower. There is only one way to get those pesky tangles out. 

 I can't part my hair or dry it until the tangles have been removed. If I start to brush my hair from the top, which seems the natural way to brush one's hair, then the tangles would only get worse. No, I must patiently begin with short and gentle strokes at the bottom of my hair. Once the ends have been smoothed, I can work my way to the top of my head with larger strokes and eventually the brush will glide smoothly through my hair, allowing me to make the part and dry it. 

I began the year 2012 with the ambition of focusing on JOY and finding more of it in my life. JOY is a fruit of the spirit. Which means that it is not something you simply command to be. I can't tell myself, "Kristin, be joyful right now!" and expect authentic joy to come forth. It must be produced through growth and nutrition. JOY is not a fruit of self; however, it is a fruit of the spirit. The spirit of Christ Jesus. 

Just as a granny smith apple (my favorite fruit by the way!) is the fruit of a granny smith apple tree, JOY is the fruit of Jesus' spirit. It is what's produced when the spirit of Jesus is living in us, controlling us, and having his way with us. 

Just as I cannot fix my hair after a shower without taking care of the tangles I cannot have JOY without Christ's spirit living in me and taking care of my sinful human nature. I cannot remove the tangles of my hair without starting at the bottom and working my way through them. The spirit cannot live in me and make me pure unless I grant Him access and permission, and willingly let Him nourish me and control me. When I let Him begin to work through the tangles He'll smooth things out in my heart so that true JOY may be produced. 

That is what my conclusion is on this year's end. 

Even though I've been saved for many years, I'm still continually learning new things about what that means. Even though I've let Christ in, I long to let Him stay and for Him to make known His presence in me every day. His fruits are one way that I can know that He's near. 

The way to have JOY, or any fruit of the spirit is to allow Christ to control you. Only then will his fruit be produced. And praise God for graciously offering us the gift of His spirit! 

"The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won't find any law opposed to fruit like this. Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us. 

Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let's keep each step in perfect sync with God's Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed  by provocation, pride, and envy." 

~ Galations 5:22-26 The Voice

~ Wishing you much JOY this next year! Happy New Year's! ~

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