The Fruit of the Spirit series: The fruit that strengthens you!
“You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11
God will make known the path of life He has for us. This path is leading us to discover His Presence – He is always with us. We know this academically but we need to experience this practically which will result in joy.
Joy is discovering God’s Presence with you.
“You will show me the path of life; granting me the joy of Your Presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.” Psalm 16:11 NLT
“For You bring me a continual revelation of resurrection life,the path to the bliss that brings me face to face with You.” TPT
Jesus’ own words to us are, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” So, He is constantly with us even in difficult circumstances He allows. Our key question is to be:
Who do You want to be to me in this situation?
This discovery of God in every situation cause us to become a celebrant in all of life. The key is to pay attention to God in all of life rather than just checking in now and then.
Ill. I have some wonderful moments where it is easy to recognize the Presence of God with me. These I call glory moments. It takes no faith and it is just a time of God blessing me.
Other times there may be no awareness of God. He is silent but still just as present with me. This can be a wilderness time of loneliness, boredom, or even a dark night of the soul. But this is a time of building.
Time of blessing = glory moments of Presence and revelation flows.
Time of building = silence, stillness, nothing apparent.
I need both of these times: Times of blessing come to encourage me. Times of building come to wean me off my feelings and sight and to train me to walk by faith and stay focused on Him.
Ill. Last week in pre service prayer I had a vision in my imagination of being in a dark room with the window blinds closed in front of me. I wanted to open the blinds and let light in and to be able to see what is going on out there.
PIC of closed blinds in dark room.
For a while I wondered what this image in my mind was all about. After a while a faint outline or silhouette of Jesus appeared just barely visible if you focused on the front of the closed blinds. He was there.
I ask HS what this was about and this is what He said:
“Don’t focus out there – I am right here with you in this moment. Even when you are in the dark I am with you. You are in the dark so that you might be weaned from walking by sight, and your feelings, and learn to abide in My presence.”
I asked God, “What is Your vision for me, my family, Your church?
HS whispered, “For all of you to live in the reality of the invisible God, the Lord Himself is always with you. You do not have to react to situations, instead only respond as My Presence guides you. Depend on Me, trust Me with all your heart, acknowledge Me and I will direct your path.”
Abiding is our responsibility – my response to His ability. He can make fruit of the Spirit grow in any situation of your life. Our part is not to let negative things cause us to stop abiding.
What is the opposite of abiding? (Someone says not abiding and that is true but more specific it is self or solo, or living alone without depending and trusting on God. It can be a defiant ignoring of God. “I don’t need God. I can do this without You. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing (worthwhile or bearing fruit).” Actually He was saying,
“As you live in union with Me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you – but when you live separated from Me you are powerless.” John 15:5 The Passion Translation
Joy is discovering God’s Presence with you.
“In Thy Presence is fullness of Joy” Psalm 16:11
We need to look for God in every situation. “Lord, what do You want to be to me in this? What are You trying to show me? How can I discover Your presence in this?”
When we discover God with us in our circumstances – there is a radiance of joy – His presence that lifts and lights up our countenance!
Range of joy – from calm delight that makes you smile all the way up to delirious laughter and dancing.
Ill. Maybe it was that near fatal car accident that you realized God was with you and protected you. Before the accident you were not thinking about God or even aware of His presence. But an unexpected accident – and suddenly you are aware God is with you and He was protecting you all the way. He was arranging help to be there for you!
Joy comes during discovering God’s Presence but, strength is the outcome!
Ill. Back in OT times because the people of God (Israel) rebelled against God they suffered from foreign invasion including the destruction of Jerusalem, it’s walls and the temple. Ezra the scribe read the Word of God to them. It had been years since they had even heard the Word. It cut them to the heart and they began to be sorrowful realizing how far in disobedience they were from God. The people had a weeping revival. It got so bad that Nehemiah the governor had to stop the people from mourning. “Stop being sorrowful. This is a holy time and God has brought us here for such a time as this. “Don’t be grieved because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
You can’t afford to stay sorrowful. You can’t afford to stay depressed. You can’t stay sad.
If you don’t have joy – you don’t see God who is with you.
Stress is a by product of a life not focused on Jesus!
Ill. All this talk about focusing on Jesus. How can I focus on a god that is invisible? It is not an outward visible focus but an inward focus using your mind and God given gift of imagination.
God will often speak to you through your imagination more than just your logical mind if you let Him. He is an artist and has a variety of ways to speak to you so that you understand.
Often it is required to shut off the world in order to hear God.
Habakkuk 2 “I am going to station myself in my watchtower (not JW) and keep watch to see what He will say to me. And the Lord answered him and said, “write the vision” – journal.
Write down what you even think the Lord may be saying or showing you. It may not become clear until later. But joy will come when He does reveal that He was speaking to you.
Joy is discovering God’s Presence with you, but strength is the outcome!
Nehemiah is telling the people of God that you cannot afford to lose the joy of knowing God’s Presence in every situation.
- Celebrate He is with us – otherwise we would have been destroyed (you too!).
Song: When I think about the Lord – how He saved me, how He raised me, How He picked me up and turned me around and placed my feet on solid ground… It make me want to shout.
Awareness of His Presence produces strength and confidence in you that you need.
Strength is the outcome of joy.
Satan is after your strength – which comes from your joy. Maybe this is why you are under such an attack of depression. He is after your joy of discovering God’s presence with you in every situation.
- He has got to get you to believe a lie in order to steal your joy. He has got to get you to believe God is not with you, speaking to you, helping you.
- When you believe a lie and then speak a lie, you are empowering a lie and being robbed of your inheritance (joy).
It works like this; you say things like, “It is hopeless. I am overwhelmed. I am stressed out!”
- You are especially vulnerable when you are going through a wilderness time. A wilderness time is when you are living through a season where you don’t see much of anything happening. You don’t hear God, see God in anything in your life = wilderness.
Have you ever been in a wilderness spiritually?
The wilderness is a necessary training ground. Jesus did, Paul did, early church fathers did. You will too.
Warning: Those who only see the wilderness will die in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb saw the victory ahead! Why? They knew the presence of the Lord with them. “How can we lose?”
Our life here on earth is ab out knowing God better than we do at this moment. Therefore, trials are the trails to knowing Him better.
We are learning how to not let circumstances cause us to doubt God’s presence and then we unplug and disconnect from Him.
We are learning that there is not a single occurrence in life that does not have some learning about God attached to it! It is virtually impossible to become Christ-like when everything is going well!
Life is all about learning about Him. We are learning to stand with God, learning to rejoice in Lord always, learning to give thanks always. We are learning to enjoy living all of life, the good, bad and ugly, in His Presence.
Therefore, every trial/problem has a particular aspect of God’s nature attached to it that is God’s goal for us to experience!
Our question for any trial should be: “What fruit of God’s Spirit has been assigned to me in this current difficulty?”
By the way, joy has been attached to every trial you will face according to James 1:2-3. Whatever your trial is trying to cause you in the natural – fear, depression, weariness, anxiety, worry, then you know God has planned for just the opposite as you discover Him in the moment.
Ill. I had a dream where Pam and I and some kids were in a car floating in a stream of water. The car floats down a slope into a big lake. There are 2 other cars ahead of us. One turns right and sinks into deep water and is seen no more. Seeing this we turn left and float into sandy shallow area instead of sinking. From here I get out and get our car pulled out of the water and it starts and we keep on going.
Interpretation: God is with you. He is the One who keeps you afloat or else you would have sunk by now. So stay calm in any adversity – you are going somewhere. God has a path for you that is different from others. When you get stuck – you can get unstuck and keep moving forward. Discover and depend on God being with you. This is your joy that results in your strength.
Concl: He is deeply committed to revealing Himself to us in all of our life situations. When we are born again we become the “bride of Christ”. He Himself is the bridegroom. In Hebrew bridegroom can be translated,
Bridegroom – Hebrew “Khatan” = He who joins Himself.
God is the bridegroom and He joins Himself to us.
Ill. Most religions are based on – what we have to do to get God to accept us. But God is the khatan who will join His life, His nature, His love, joy, peace, patience to us.
You don’t have to convince God to love you – He already does. It is not us seeking Him – He first sought us.
Jesus nailed to the cross = He purposely joined Himself with nails to our ugly sin. It was a supernatural joining of God to us. Now nothing can separate us from His love. As He touches the unclean we become clean supernaturally.
How does the bridegroom and bride become joined in marriage?
First by vows! “for better, for worse …”
Jesus is called the High Priest of our confession. Homo –logeo – to say the same thing.
- Romans 10:9-10