What needs to change in your life for you to have hope? Now careful, this is a trick question, but go ahead and make a list. What all needs to change in your life for you to know peace, love, joy and patience?
Why did I say this was a trick question? Because it is a pretty good chance that anything you put as an answer to that question may be what the Bible refers to as an idol. To say it another way, it has become something we trust more than Jesus. If you refer back to last week’s email, the Gospel says that all we need is found in Jesus. Peace, patience, joy and love are a fruit of the Spirit and not a product of our circumstances.
Now please know, this does not excuse any abuse or pain people may cause you. Please don’t hear that here. Nor is this seeking to minimize any pain we may feel either.
What it is saying is that we are defined by Jesus more than anything else in our lives. In Him, we are given life. Jesus even says,
The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. (John 10:10, CEB)
What Jesus is referring to here though is that life, happiness even, is found in Him. He is the source of life. When we answer that something has to change, we are saying that Jesus is not our savior. We are saying, whatever that has to change, is now our savior.
How about an example?
Something we might say, “I will never be happy in this job! If I don’t change jobs, then I will never be happy. I will never have peace.”
In this example, what becomes our savior? Our savior, even though we usually don’t say it that way, becomes a “perfect job.” Now, you may very well need to change jobs, but we shouldn’t look to our jobs as the source of our happiness. Our jobs are not the source of our identity either.
This works in relationships too. We often say, or hear people say, they need “so and so” to change. Why? Yes, it is great when love is returned. However, when we say knowing love in our own lives is dependent on what they do or don’t do, we have placed them higher than Jesus.
Jesus loves you. He is present in your life. When you trust in Him, you are changed, made new. You are adopted into His family. In Christ, you are holy and blameless, called by Jesus to love as He loves. Through His work in your life, filled with the Holy Spirit, which is the true source of peace, joy, love and yes, even happiness.
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