The JOY of the Lord…

joyofthelordThe joy of the Lord is my strength.

I’ve had bouts in the past few weeks where I’ve lost my joy.  It’s not an easy thing to hold onto when the creditors are calling, the bills are mounting, Christmas is lurking and my financial situation is outside of my control.

As I take a step back, though…I realize that nothing really is in my control.  Yes, I have control over my actions and my stewardship of the money that God has given me through my employer.  But overall, I am not the one who brought myself into being.  I am not the one who gives my lungs breath time after time and keeps my heart beating.  

A while back, I preached an offering message on Matthew 6:25-34.  Why do you worry, my child, when I clothe the lilies of the field, feed the birds, clothe the grass?  How much more will I do for you?  When I preached that message, I was preaching to myself primarily.  It was something that I needed to learn to walk in, and it’s something that the kids needed to learn to walk in.  Here I am, years later, still preaching the same message to myself.

Is it human nature to worry?  I’d have to say yes.

Is it sin to worry?  If I am in a constant state of worrying, I have to say yes.  Ouch.  Someone once said that you can’t choose what lands on your head, but you can choose what you let roost in your head.  We all have thoughts that go through our minds.  We have the choice to let them take root or to realize that those thoughts are not in line with what we believe and who we are and to shut up those voices in our minds.

Lately, I’ve been letting the voices take root.  With my doubt (worry) have come bitterness, unforgiveness, cynicism, anger.  This morning, as I was driving into the office, I was convicted of these things.  I have to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…the fruit of the Spirit. 

You know.  The complete opposite of what I’ve been doing.

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