Beach time!

Beach time!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joy, peace, and the accuser

For the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

...For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night.
Revelation 12:10

At first glance, this might seem like a random assortment of verses but there is a powerful connection between the three of them. In the first verse, we are told that the Holy Spirit can offer us righteousness, peace, and joy. Righteousness doesn't mean we are perfect but when we are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus, God sees us as righteous children. Peace and joy most definitely go together. In my life, when I am feeling a lack of peace and surrender to God, there is a serious deficit of joy. It's a really miserable feeling! The next verse tells us that God's hope gives us joy and peace.  It appears again. The connection between joy and peace is becoming more clear.
Next, we look at a picture of the enemy. In the last verse, did you catch what Satan is called? The accuser. He accuses people, causing unrest, anxiety, and fear. What does he accuse you of? I have heard accusations of insufficiency and unacceptance in my life. We all have our own, though. Some people's accusations may be from their past mistakes that are so difficult to release (even though God has already released them if you've surrendered them). Perhaps it is the accusation of failure or inadequacy. The enemy will do what he can to keep us away from serving God and loving others as we are called to do.

Beth Moore says, "So closely are peace and joy linked that Satan will most certainly steal our joy if he can undermine our peace. Striving, churning, tossing, turning, bitter, burning, never learning..." (Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit).
Satan's desire is to take away our peace, joy, and hope and he is an expert at his job. Because if he can accomplish this in our lives, he completely immobilizes us into being ineffective, miserable, joyless people. We all have our times (or seasons) of this. I had a day like this today. My fears of insufficiency and unacceptance were whispered (seemed like a yell to me, though!) in my ear. Today I struggled with a lack of peace. Only when I stepped back and realized tonight through reading these verses did it occur to me that the best way for Satan to render me ineffective at my calling is to freeze me in fear. Today I failed in my fear test. But, the important thing is to learn from it, repent from my lack of faith in my God who desires only the best for me, and move forward in joy, hope, and peace. Maybe you can learn from my failure and respond to your accuser with the strength, hope, and security in God.

I will not fear. His promise is true. My God will come through always. Always.

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