Joy is characteristic of the Christian walk, the second part of the fruit that the Apostle Paul mentions in Galatians 5, and the first of Jesus' signs in the gospel of John in turning the water into wine. It is not to say that joy is a moral requirement for Christian living. Some of us experience events that are full of sadness, pain, and rejection. Some of us descend to low points in our lives when joy seems to have prominently departed. We should not use that as the final proof that I am not a good Christian.
I believe that it is good when our mouths are filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy. It is not a sign that you are a Christian and it certainly doesn't meant that if you don't have it that you are not a good Christian. It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience the Christian life. It is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience. I am talking about joy. Eventually it comes. "Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing..." (Psalms 126:2).
I remember an old sitcom, The Jeffersons, where the character George Jefferson was the perfect son to his mother. She would even say that from time to time. The problem was that she never had a problem with George, but she always had a problem with George's wife, Louise. A mother is like the lead off runner a the relay race. In time, she hands the baton of leadership off to her husband and they work together raising their son. When a new woman comes into the picture as wife to the son, the mother takes on a new role. They all have the potential for closeness, harmony, love, and respect or for conflict, power struggles, and confrontation. If a mother feels her son can do no wrong, and lets the daughter-in-law know this, trouble is on the horizon. The mother is living in denial. She probably believes that her son is perfect because any indication that he is imperfect is a direct reflection of flaws in her parenting.
Oftentimes, a mother may seek some sort of fulfillment through her son's marriage because of frustrations that occurred in her own marriage or because of a frustation that stems from her having never been married to the son's father. In the sitcom, Louise was always blamed by her mother-in-law for George's problems. So, oftentimes when a son doesn't do what mom expects him to do, it is the daughter-in-law who will become responsible for any shortcomings of her husband.
When I was in high school one of my least favorite sports to participate in was track and field. I had to participate in many different events and among the most dreaded was relay racing. The relay race caused you to be dependent upon the ability of the other person to either pass or receive the baton. A mother will sometimes not pass the baton off in the right way to a father. Instead she maintains the role of leadership. By refusing to pass off the baton of leadership, even when there is no father present in the son's life, a developing male fails to become the leader that he was purposed to be. The problem is not always in the mother, but the lack of participation of a father in a child's life is like the runner who doesn't know how to receive the baton in the right way. The children suffer from this malfunctioning team and are unable to complete the race with a win. When we learn how to work together to reach the finish line everyone benefits from knowing that they played their part to the best of their ability.
A few nights ago, as I began to minister, I reminded the audience of some of the limitations of the devil. Often times we speak of him as if he can be everywhere at the same time. We make him omnipresent and that is simply not true; he is not deity. He is not like God even though he wants us to think that that is true. He even said to himself that he would be like the Most high. He cannot be like God. He is a fallen angel and like all other angels in the Bible, they can only be in one place at one time.
So, how is he able to counterfeit this ability? The Bible tells us in Rev 12 that he drew a third of an innumerable number of angels with him. We are also told in Ephesians 6:12 concerning the hierarchy or structure of the enemy's camp. We are warned not to be ignorant of his methods. I think that it is very important that, as a believer, you and I know that there is no neutral ground. Once you name the name of Jesus you become a target for his attacks. In this case, the more you know about your enemy and his limitations the better you will be able to withstand him.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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