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The Joy of Life

• Greg Boyd

The Bible tells us that we become what we see. God created us that way because he wanted us to look at him and become like him. That works against us in this fallen world.

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The Bible tells us that we become what we see. God created us that way because he wanted us to look at him and become like him. That works against us in this fallen world. We see poison (the essence of which is the deception known as ‘the flesh’), and we become poisoned. This is what blocks the fruit of the Spirit.

There is one fruit of the Spirit which has many different facets. These are characteristics that belong to God by nature and are given to us by grace.

All of the rules in the world won’t change the heart of the problem, because behavior is just the symptom of a deeper problem. When seeking change, we need to find a balance between legalism (strict rules governing behavior) and being a perpetual victim (taking no responsibility for your own behavior).

We may need to get angry at things in our past, but then we need to move on. Forgiveness must be the eventual goal if we are to be free. A child of God need be no one’s victim. God is bigger than all of our problems.

Jesus promised his disciples two things: suffering and joy. Happiness is ours when the circumstances of our lives are good, and it is therefore quite elusive. Joy, on the other hand, is a sense of well being that does not rest on what’s going on around us. So, joy and suffering can indeed be compatible. Many early Christians suffered for their faith, yet their lives were characterized by joy.

Making happiness the goal of our lives (as most people do) prevents us from experiencing joy. The joy of the Lord comes from depending on the Lord for joy. When we see God’s joy, it starts to become ours.

Our culture tells us many ways to chase joy, but God’s joy is greater than anything the world can give us.

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