You are who you hang around with. That is what our parents told us in jr. hi and high school. Who you spend time with you will become like. It might come slowly like a storm sometimes does but it will come.
So, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit is key to experiencing joy but if we are hanging out with the wrong things we will eventually lose our joy. If we choose worldliness over holiness we will he joyless. It might come slowly but it will come.
Do not be fooled, worldliness is not defined as doing evil things. You can pursue business in an ethical, even Christian way and still be worldly. It has to do with what you are pursuing and what your mind thinks about. You can over focus on your children and become worldly.
Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.Read: Romans 8:5-14
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace (and joy). 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
You cannot read these words from Paul and not sense the immense struggle that happens in the life of the Christian. There is a struggle for control that will move us closer or further away from the Lord and therefore closer or further away from joy.
Every day we wake up we are invited to embrace surrender and allow the Holy Spirit control (v. 8, 9). But built in that H-mail invitation is a delete button ... an option to choose to do it on our own. One decision leads to death but the other leads to life and peace (v. 6).
How do we know which we are choosing? Check your joy. Check your patience with the kids. Check your kindness with a neighbor. Check your self control? Our interactions will tell us who is in control of our lives.
Good news, we do not need to go with our urges (v. 12.) We have choices. It seems funny that Paul almost had to remind them that they were free to make a choice toward the Lord. Maybe we are so accustomed to failure that we need to be reminded that victory is available.
We do not have to be worldly. We do not have to be easily pleased!
Ok, it is a new day and the invitation is at your heart's door. Will you surrender? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to run you today? You do not need to do anything special. Do not light a candle. Do not try harder. Give up. Give in. Surrender.
What does that sound like?
"Father, today is Your day. On my own I cannot please you or do your will. I need you to live your life through me. I surrender to you and let the Holy Spirit control my life today. Amen."
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.