Love, Joy Peace and Faith….What are these attributes and where do they come from?
So let’s look at these commodities together…
Love. Is love a “warm fuzzy” thing that is just supposed to make you feel something? Or is it a choice that includes commitment, dedication, perseverance, a selflessness that prefers the other over ourselves? An action word?
Joy. The difference between “joy” and “happiness” is well noted here. Joy comes from a place inside that knows all is well, regardless of circumstance. While being “happy” depends on externals working out in my favor, for example. A sense that all is well, even when oit appears to not be.
Peace. Peace also comes from within. It again is not dependent on all things aligned and going my way. Or merely a “time out” from all the craziness of life, a juncture in the madness. Peace is to be a resident state, as it’s created and given by God as an anchor to the heart and soul.
Faith. A watered down word that has been stretched beyond it’s genuine boundaries to mean many things. “Put your “faith” in this, that, this person, this system, etc. Faith must clearly be placed in something bigger and more capable than yourself. It is rooted in God, not in other things, therefore putting your faith on people for example, is problematic as humans are imperfect and fallible.
Genuine faith, will actually make way for the other three items on the list. Genuine love comes from God, Joy and Peace are cultivated in the heart as we “walk” in faith. Faith “is the substance of things that we hope for but do not see yet.” But Faith is not wishful thinking. Genuine faith will give you realistic expectations, not selfish wants.
Lastly for our discussion today, Living in faith, joy, peace and love, will help you establish your identity, characterized by these attributes. It’s a mistake to “handcuff” these words to religion. Religion presents a systematic approach to God that will leave you many times void of the very attributes that God wants us to enjoy perpetually, replaced with rules and regulations.
Religious obligation and traditions will not create the peaceful attributes of a heart at rest, who have stopped striving, and trusts that we will make it to the end, because religion puts much of the focus and onus on you… Genuine faith puts the focus and onus on God.
The following is an excerpt from and article by Focus on Freedoms – (Adapted).
“How do you know if you have Genuine Faith? First it starts with believing. Ask yourself what do you believe? Do you believe in God? Do you believe He is in control of your life? Or do you think everything just happens by chance?
Everyone believes in something, even when they say they don’t. You have faith that your car will start in the morning. You have faith that the chair you are sitting on won’t break. You have faith that the food you are eating isn’t spoiled. In fact, you generally don’t even take a second thought about it. We are designed to have faith. The problem at times is we lose faith due to circumstances that happen in our life that are explainable and often unbelievably painful physically and/or emotionally.
Then instead of turning to God for love, support, encouragement, and help getting through a situation; we blame Him and turn away from God which only makes our life worse. We become angry, bitter, frustrated, and often want to give up. But that isn’t the answer and it isn’t how God planned us to live our lives.
We can experience the fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. We all aspire to these traits and want to receive these characteristics from others. But while others may demonstrate these desirable traits, we can only really obtain them from our own belief in God, not other people.”
Bill Hoffman/Canva Pro/Focus on Freedoms