— Faith produces joy and peace (Rom 15:13).
— Faith gives us love for others (Gal 5:6).
— Faith results in obedience (Heb 11:8).
— Faith extinguishes every flaming dart of the evil one (Eph 6:16).
— Faith conquers the sinful pull of the world (1 John 5:4).
But how does faith in Christ do this?
It’s not by saying: “Since faith in Christ produces joy, I’m going to choose to rejoice.”
That’s like saying: “Since grape branches produce grapes, I’m going to choose to staple these grapes onto this branch.”
But grape branches really do produce grapes, when they are attached to the vine. And faith really does produce joy, when it’s attached to Christ.
How does that work?
It does not work if my faith is just agreeing with truths about Christ, or just trusting Jesus to forgive my sins.
But it does work if my faith involves trusting all that God promises to be to me in Christ Jesus — especially God’s promise that Jesus Christ is my heart-satisfying treasure.
How does faith produce joy?
When you trust Christ as your heart-satisfying treasure, He will make Himself so real to you that you will be completely satisfied with joy in Him (John 4:13-14; John 6:35; John 7:37-38).
For me this usually takes a fight — the fight of faith. But time and again, as I have earnestly prayed and set my heart upon God’s Word, I have experienced the Holy Spirit giving me heart-felt joy in Christ.
This is not willing myself to feel happy, or finding joy in looking on the bright side. This is heart-felt joy that comes from seeing, feeling, tasting the infinite glory of Jesus Christ.
How does faith produce peace?
When you trust Jesus you not only taste His all-satisfying joy — you also know that He will cause everything in the future to give you even more of that joy (Rom 8:28; 2Cor 4:17-18). Which means that no matter what happens your future will mean all-satisfying joy — the joy of knowing and beholding Christ. When you understand that you will feel complete peace (Psa 112:7).
This is not you finding peace by not-thinking about problems. This is you fighting the fight of faith until you feel the Holy Spirit changing your heart so you feel Jesus as your all-satisfying joy, and trust that He will rule everything in your future to bring you even more of that joy.
How about love?
What gets in the way of love? My emptiness — when I’m empty I want others to serve me. And my pride — when I’m proud I want others to recognize me. Both kill love.
But when I fight the fight of faith, the Spirit fills my emptiness with the love of Jesus, and humbles my heart with the mercy of Jesus.
And when my heart is full and humble, love pours out like water over Niagara Falls.
When by faith in Christ I understand that I have a secure future of eternal joy in beholding Christ, and when I understand that obedience will bring me even more joy in Christ, I will want to obey (Mat 13:44).
That sounds easy. But it’s not. At all.
You will need to fight to trust Jesus. You will need to fight to feel that Jesus is more satisfying than porn or fame or comfort. But God will give you everything you need to fight. And the joy of beholding Jesus is worth it all.
How about temptations and flaming darts?
Faith conquers them too (1 John 5:4; Eph 6:16). How?
Faith conquers temptations by helping us taste that the joy of Jesus is infinitely more satisfying than whatever the temptation offers (Jer 2:13).
And faith extinguishes each flaming dart. It can do this because each flaming dart is a lie from Satan denying God’s promises. But faith enables us to feel the certainty and beauty of God’s promises. When that happens — flaming darts are extinguished.
God helps those who …
Who help themselves? Who rely on their own will-power to obey? Who depend on their positive mental attitude for joy?
No. God helps those who trust Jesus. Because when we fight the fight of faith to trust all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus — the Holy Spirit changes our hearts so we have joy, peace, love, and obedience — and so we can conquer temptations and extinguish flaming darts.
That’s how faith in Christ transforms every part of our lives.
But there’s something that can hinder this transformation.
Do you …
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