"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield." (Psalms 5:11-12)
It's been a long and tiresome week, and Friday is now here. Weariness has almost overtaken you, but then, you hear a call. You begin to hear the voice of the Lord, saying, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)
God invites us into His arms with a warm smile and a gentle heart. He doesn't call us as slaves with the strike of a bell and a tyrannical demand to work ourselves into the ground. God calls us His very own children. He sees all the effort we've exerted this week, and now He says, "Come to Me, and I'll replenish you. I'll revive you from the burnt out ashes of distress and discouragement. Come to Me, My child, and I will reenergise you."
Have you ever thought about the fact that JOY is one of the fruits of the Spirit? We so often become tied up focussing in on the fruits of the Spirit such as love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We tend to like to highlight the fruits that require us to work, but too easily skim over the ones that require us to slow down and take a minute in God's Presence to recover from all the work.
But I honestly don't believe that God intended for our lives to be drudgery. Just think about the picturesqueness of an orchard that's bursting with fresh, ripe, and vibrant fruits. It's beautiful isn't it? It's beautiful and pleasantly appealing, and that is exactly how God designed it to be.
Now, can you see why God would use this same imagery to depict the condition of our hearts? Of course,
He wants our hearts to be as delightfully enchanting and brimming with colourful goodness as a lovely orchard at the peak of the season.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
We are certainly called to love, give, and practice patience and self-control, but that's not all. God has also called us to live a life of intimate fellowship with Him, thereby becoming ever increasingly filled with joy and peace unending. The way to achieve this grounding balance of all the fruits of the Spirit is surrender to the gentle and steady flow of the Holy Spirit.
"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)
Because no plan that the Lord ensues can be obstructed, and He has purposed us to live spiritually fruitful lives, nothing can stop the process of His glorious gardening in our souls. When we say, "Lord, I can't do this on my own. I'm weary, burnt out, and I need revival. I give all to You my sovereign God." He hears our contrite calls, and He is faithful to provide exactly what we're needing.
We all imperatively crave the peace and joy that comes only from the Lord Himself, and that's completely normal. That is a natural desire He has set into each and every heart of humanity. In the same manner we require water and air and sustenance to survive, we have great necessity for the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. Without this spiritual sustenance, we feel empty and hungry for something that's missing. God is our provider, and His goodness is all that can truly satisfy our souls.
If you're feeling anxious and worn, I strongly believe that God wants you to hear this:
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
Oh hastened heart, find peace and rest in God alone. Oh troubled soul, find rejuvenation and restoration in Christ the Lord. Surrender the mindset the world has ingrained that barbarically blusters, "WORK! Take no breaks! Rest is for the weak!" Take hold of the promise of God that says, "In Me you may have peace." (John 16:33)
Take heart! This day will be amazing, and here's why:
"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24)
The Lord has made this day! He's placed little reminders that He is with you all throughout. Don't let the enemy discourage you. You're free to rejoice and be glad! You're free to surrender to God and see all the wonderful things He has in store. So, press into Him today, and embrace His refreshing peace and joy.
-The Introverted Evangelist