Where’s the Joy?

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17

I wonder if the fear of judgment from others keeps us from extending love to others? It is entirely impossible to live a life full of joy with a critically judgmental spirit. Joy and judgment cannot coexist in the same heart. Just like love and fear cannot coexist in the same heart. Joy is a sign of freedom. Freedom must live – exist within you before it is expressed from you.

The critically judgmental spirit thrives in toxic soil.  Another way of saying this is it attaches itself to our old nature and is fueled by the insecurity, inadequacy and accusation that comes from our past.  The past that doesn’t believe that we are enough and whispers that what Jesus redeemed can’t address ‘that thing’ in my life.

I have found myself being critically judgmental toward others.  I sometimes find myself talking about them rather than to them.  Sometimes it’s easier to complain about others rather than to give thanks for them or bless them.  When this happens – the joy of the Lord is not my strength. And in these times, we must make room for the Spirit of the Lord.

As we reflect and pray intentionally – join me in addressing the critically judgmental spirit and start reflecting the glory of the Lord – who is the Spirit.

Two of my favorite verses say this –

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalms 28:7

Turn and Declare – that the Lord is your strength.  That you trust Him. That you long for His help. Ask for the blindspots to be taken away.  Make room for freedom by letting go of what was and embracing what is.

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” – 2 Cor. 3:16-18

Now that the veil is gone – no matter how someone else is – see them for who they will yet become.  They too are longing for freedom.  Give yours to them by joyfully giving thanks, giving time, giving grace.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13