The Cutting Edge
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Everyone has times when they like to sit back and think about all the things going on around them. Sometimes it's really hard to find the time, but when those times do come along, I find them very refreshing. Recently I had one of those times.

I took a cup of hot apple cider and went into a room in my house I call "the upper room." It's a room above my garage that overlooks the Lake of the Ozarks. I have never put a television or stereo up there. Somehow it just never seemed right. The room is so quiet and a nice place to think.

One evening I was in the upper room thinking about the good things of God, when I began to list all the things God has provided for us. And one thing I began to realize as I made my list was that God's gifts are all grounded in joy.

Let me explain. When we become a Christian, the Spirit of God indwells us. Our spirit is born again and we become a new creation. Old things pass away and all things become new.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit lives within us. As a Christian, because we have the Spirit of God within us, we also have the product of His Spirit. The Bible calls it the fruit of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."

Everything God has for us is joyful. When He heals us, is that a joyful thing or a sad thing? Of course, it's a good, joyful thing. When God prospers us, is that a joyful thing, or a sad thing? Of course, it's a joyful thing! But the unique thing about being a Christian is that we can have joy in the midst of sickness, financial trouble or any trial that comes our way.

Why? Because first of all, the joy has already been placed within us as a part of the fruit of the spirit when we became born again. Secondly, we know that no matter how great the sickness, no matter how great the financial problem, no matter how great the trial, we can rest in the fact that God said He would deliver us.

In Psalm 34:19 the Bible says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." Did you catch that? God delivers us out of all of our afflictions.

If this is true, and we know it is because God's Word says it, then we have no reason to be depressed. Likewise we have every reason to be joyful. Because even though we may be going through a trial, God said He would deliver us out of it. And if God is going to set us free from our afflictions like He said He would, then we can easily let that joy out that has been placed within us.

The problem with joy is not getting it, it's letting it out. As Christians we have already been given joy as part of the fruit of the spirit. So since we have it, it's our responsibility to let it flow. We have our hand on the valve that governs our joy level.

Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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