As I was praying this morning about what to write, I kept coming across angry Christians. I mean ANGRY. Shouting about the government, shouting about "Christian" Corporations, shouting about politics, shouting about their neighbors. Angry and Christian seem to be contradictory terms. James says "Be slow to speak, quick to hear and slow to anger," while Paul writes in Ephesians "Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger." John takes it a bit further: " If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. " Jesus said " By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Much of our anger comes out as hate. It is not loving to beat someone down, verbally or otherwise. On the same token, it is not loving to agree with everything that someone does for the sake of peace. What it all comes down to is this, Christians are supposed to be a people of unquenchable Joy. It is supposed to be in everything we do, our proximity to Christ should be so close that we can't help ourselves but exude joy. Galatians tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit (a fruit the SPIRIT brings, not us, and thus something that He produces, not us) is Joy.
C.S. Lewis (Full quote here) put it this way: "But in this world everything is upside down. That which , if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Are you lacking Joy? I pray you're not lacking Jesus, for joy is the direct result of knowing Jesus and making Him known. Galatians 5
Keep in Step with the Spirit
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy,d drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who doe such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Footnotes: a 4 Or counted righteous b 11 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 13 c 11 Greek proclaim d 21 Some manuscripts add murder e 21 Or make a practice of doing