Lately, I can't help but think about how joyless so many who say they are believers in Christ actually are, even though one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is Joy. The Lord has been pressing me to ask "why" and to seek answers. I may not know the full extent of it all, my limited brain and imagination can only take in so much, but I've come to a conclusion that too many of us are too self-focused, and too self-centered to actually receive Joy. We complain, we grumble, we argue, we fuss and we fight, why? Because we can be spoiled by Grace instead of saved and changed by it! We focus on what we think we deserve, vs. what we actually deserve and receive from the Lord instead! And what do we deserve? Nothing less than utter destruction and separation from God! Yes, even the best of us deserve this! "But," you might say, "what about all of my good that I do?" Anything we do apart from God is rubbish! Compared to knowing Christ and making Him known, it is all trash! Anything we do outside of God's will is rebellion against His rule, even if the intentions of our heart is right. What we're really doing is trying to either have God on our terms, or trying to prove that we don't need God to be good. We can never be good enough for God. YET! This is not what we receive from God, and THIS should change our attitudes and hearts! In spite of all we do to Him, God gives us grace to live another day. In spite of all we do, God rescues us with His lovingkindness and tender mercies. God forgives us all of our rebellion, and He, while we were yet His enemies, sent His son to die for them. We deserve death, God continually draws us toward His Son, and true life! Let us then, beloved, walk in light of this knowledge; let us see that we have been saved from the destruction of our own making, and walk in the newness of life! If this does not cause joy in your heart, nothing will! Romans 3:21-31 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.