“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
I always feel joy when I see the beauty of God’s marvelous creation!
As we continue our journey through the fruits of the spirit, this week we will discuss joy. Joy is defined as “a feeling of great pleasure or happiness”; however, as Christians, it is much more than that. “Happiness” implies that our feeling of joy is dependent on how well things are going in our lives. When work is going well, and our family is getting along, and stress is low, we are happy. But joy is not transient. Joy comes from God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Joy is the result of our salvation, our relationship with God and the Spirit within us. Joy comes with our belief in Jesus and trust in God’s love and forgiveness. Our past is forgiven, and we are new creatures! God’s salvation gives us hope for the future and the delight in His direction for our lives. But realistically and sadly, our joy is one of the easiest things to lose. David wrote this Psalm after the incident with Bathsheba. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalms 51:12
David had lost his joy. He asked that it be “restored”. We can so easily lose our joy in the daily struggles of this world. We begin to doubt that God is with us. We put distance between God and ourselves and we lose our joy. We have all experienced it. My joy was full when I was saved and baptized as a teenager. My joy continued as I felt that I was moving in the direction that God had planned for me, a college degree, teaching special education students, marrying my high school love. I enjoyed Bible study at church.
But then life happened. Difficulties and responsibilities and health issues all seemed insurmountable. I continued going to church but I had pulled back some from my relationship with God. I was not as joyful. I decided to delve into Philippians. Paul is in prison in Rome waiting for execution. We would assume that he we as at the darkest time of his life, but he wasn’t. Paul was joyful! He starts off Chapter 4 by encouraging his beloved to “stand fast in the Lord”. Paul then tells them to “Rejoice in the Lord always” Philippians 4:4 and “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
In order to restore our joy, we have to put our troubles and worries and shame and circumstances behind us and pray with thanksgiving for all the God has already done for us. We need to spend time in His Word and with Him so that we can discern His path for us. So that we can be fruitful and joyful. I will admit that as I began this new path last January, I was worried. But this has been a beautiful and joyful experience. I feel that I am where God wants me to be and I am closer to Him than ever before.
Every week as I write, I pray that my words are God’s words and that He will speak to someone through me. And so I thank each of you for joining me this week as we rediscover our joy!
Blessings to each and every one!
Don’t forget to check out the post for children under the “For the Kids” heading.