Christians have a unique way about them. When faith in Jesus comes into our hearts, when we know that our sins have been forgiven, when we have the freedom to live life according to God’s design, we stick out in a crowd. We have a different way of approaching life. We have confidence that we will live forever and we want to live that kind of life now. The spirit in us is different, it’s set apart, and it’s holy. God’s Holy Spirit changes us completely. Take a look:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
– Romans 14:17
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
– Galatians 5:22-23
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
– 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Notice the connection between the Holy Spirit and joy. We have every reason to be filled with hope and joy, regardless of the circumstances! We know the sacrificial love of God through Jesus and we know how to reflect that love to others! Such confidence in God and in what is right produces joy, even in the most difficult situations. We can have hope when others are hopeless. We can see God working good despite the tragedy. We can love the unlovable and befriend the friendless with a smile on our faces! And let me tell you, they notice!
Recently, I have had the opportunity to befriend some people who really needed a friend. Others had come and gone. People had helped, but begrudgingly, or seeking some benefit for themselves. By the Holy Spirit, I was different. I was joyful. I was happy to help, happy to befriend, happy to discuss, happy to just be there for them. It was interesting to check myself as I did these things. I had tons of joy as I focused my energies on loving them. The moment my concerns turned to myself, the joy diminished. When my thoughts drifted to the other “better” things I could be doing, my joy turned to discontent. By God’s grace, I denied myself, and joy won.
I have some new friends now. They all know that I love them the way Jesus loves me. They could feel the joy, and it was real. I felt it from them too. They all know that I am there for them, and I know they are there for me. I don’t think it would have happened without the joy.
In our journey behind Jesus, let’s keep ourselves focused on others, loving unconditionally and trusting God to do what we can’t do ourselves. The joy on that journey is greater than any happiness we can manufacture for ourselves, and it’s contagious. Yes, we are different. Show it with a smile.