Saturday, June 09, 2007

# 204: Hope, Joy and Peace

What would the Christian life be without hope, joy and peace? These are three necessary attitudes which make our lives worthwhile.

HOPE: In the world, we don’t rely on hope too much since we were taught to be in control at all times. And then we have the “I hope so” situation. This type of hope is no more than optimism: It is hoping for the best, that something good will happen (desire accompanied by expectation).

Nevertheless, hope plays a big role in the Christian religion. Everything we believe about God, as to what will happen to us, depends on hope. That type of Godly hope comes from the trust we have in God, and is only as reliable as the word of One who promised something of value (Eternal life). The Christian hope says we will receive immortality at the death of the physical body. That hope is sure, but only as we continually respond to the conditions required from the One who does the promising. Therefore, hope is the underpinning of Christian faith. Hope can be risky when in the hands of a false entity (Satan, disguising himself as Jesus Christ). Hebrews 11:1. "Now hope is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." [emphasis added].

JOY: True lasting joy is missing to a great degree in the lives of many Christians. We substitute joy with happiness. Happiness comes and goes depending on circumstances. Happiness is derived from the root word “happen.” If what happens pleases us, we are happy; if something happens that is not pleasing, we have no happiness derived from that situation.

Joy is a bit more stable. Joy doesn’t rely on circumstances, but is an inward quality that doesn’t fluctuate but remains intact even in hard times. Gaining this inward joy may not come easy. It is the result of acquiring faith in the Salvation given to us by Jesus Christ. Christian joy is an attitude which is a fringe benefit of our faith in Jesus Christ; along with that, it is a precursor of the joy we will have in the company of the Father and His Son. If this joy is truly from our association with Christ and not from something we fabricated, it cannot and will not be shaken in any and all tumultuous situations. And if we are doing the work of Christ, which is continuing what He has started, those troubling times will come.

There are many events which will happen that will make our joy more intense: for instance, seeing others living for Christ as they should; allowing Christ to work through us in ways where many others will be blessed; spending time with those of like beliefs; actually, this list could be endless.

When you see Christians who lack Christ’s joy, it is evident there is something in their lives which is out of kilter. No doubt there are times and things that will come our way which will be hard for us to handle, but we must look at them as occasions in which our faith can/will be strengthened. Since we know our outcome, or I should say, we know the One in control, our joy will not falter. We must always remember that our joy is, or should be, similar to the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Joy may sound like a secondary virtue in comparison to faith in Christ or love for God, and it is, but that doesn’t mean we could or should live without it. I can’t see how any true Christians didn't find Godly joy once they realized they were intimately connected with the creator of the universe. The joy I have been experiencing for some time is one of the main emotions which keeps me going. I believe much of my joy is derived from the publishing of this blog. It actually is a great privilege that God has allowed me to help Him in this way; I believe it may have helped me as much, if not more, than many of the bloggers who subscribe to this blog. Again, Christ-type joy is something which no one in their right mind would/should belittle.

PEACE: There are at least two types of peace: the kind that comes from God, and the type we receive from the world, derived from things we have done to secure peace in our lives, which are a result of our own accomplishments. I will reflect on the peace that is mentioned numerous times in the Old and New Testament.

Isaiah 26:3. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (K. J. Version). That verse, in just 18 words, tells it all. God’s perfect peace comes to those who keep their mind on Him and the Lord Jesus Christ. How many American Christians fit into that category? I won’t answer that. God’s peace makes Christians carefree of the burdens the world attempts to enslave us with. Without that divine peace, the Christian life would be a tiresome chore. And yet, for those who are inspired to live their lives around promoting the cause of Jesus Christ, that all-consuming peace will enchant their God-given joy. I am sure there are many of God’s people who have His peace in lesser degrees since they are not able to devote their time exclusively to Godly matters. Either way, peace with God—and of God—truly gives a peace of mind that is unequaled.

In ending, Christian hope, joy and peace give disciples of Christ the ammunition needed to help us fight off all the lovely enticements the world can throw at us. The end result gives us the ability to love God and our fellow man/woman as required. No doubt you are aware that there are several other Godly qualities, principles and virtues not mentioned in this post which are pertinent in living a Godly life.

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