Ah life! What is it really all about? Living the American Dream? Achieving the right career? Getting married? Obtaining a successful business? Receiving accolades? Winning souls? What is it that will fulfill us? For no matter what we do or achieve, life has taught many of us, thus far, that we will still feel unfulfilled or a sense of lack if we do not have joy and peace.
Joy and peace are two of the nine attributes of the fruit of the spirit. The word “fruit” suggests that something grows or is produced as a result of nurture and care. To experience joy and peace, therefore, is a condition that is produced from cultivation. Joy and peace, two offshoots of the Holy Spirit, are also characteristics of the kingdom of God. The Word of God states that the kingdom is not about eating and drinking but living a right life with God and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14: 17). This is the life we experience when we allow the kingdom to flourish within us.
The question, then, is how do we cultivate this life of joy and peace in a world that is wounded?
Our bodies are physical temples, but the kingdom, which is spiritual, exists within us—in our hearts ( Luke 17:21). It is up to us to build a living sanctuary for God’s Holy Spirit to live and manifest its presence by submitting our bodies and minds to the authority of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. (Every kingdom is governed by a ruler.) A meditative disciplined life based on the principles of God’s word should be a part of a spiritually enriched life, for it is in our minds where we harvest thoughts of peace and joy. Andrew Newberg, M.D., author of Words Can Change your Brain, says that “if
Our minds can be trained in order to experience joy and peace.
They require retraining, and meditation helps to break old repetitious patterns of thinking that have been formed by “strong neural pathways.” But in order for ultimate–lasting transformation to occur, we have to go to a place higher than the mind to change it. That place is in God’s words, containing his principles. Though there are many ways to bring about change, there are some methods that are forbidden for the Christian or believer. In addition, there are also some neural pathways in our brains that are highly resistant to change, requiring the divine power of the Word of God to break them. Jesus Christ came so that our minds can be transformed. That means our actual brains too!
To begin this meditation, see your mind as the interior of a sanctuary. Every sanctuary has an altar where sacrifices are offered. Yes, breaking old habits is not easy at times. Such change requires discipline—a sacrifice of our time or a sacrifice of something else we would rather be doing. But taking the time to cultivate the life we want involves purposeful and intentional action. After all, faith without works is useless.
- Here’s the scripture of focus: “In the kingdom of God, eating and drinking are not important. The important things are living right with God, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 NCV).
- Now examine more closely the words “peace” and “joy”. Your “living right” should eventually and naturally flow out of your relationship with God.
- Repeat the phrase “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” silently or aloud.
Focus on the phrase for 5-15 minutes.
Cultivate a life of joy and peace.