For the last few days we have been looking at the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We have been focusing on Galatians 5:22…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We’re not speaking of spiritual apples, grapes, pears, or peaches here. If the goal of the Christian life may be stated as Christlikeness, then surely every trait developed in us that reflects His character must be fruit that is very pleasing to Him. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms. I would like to take each of these characteristics one per day. Yesterday we looked at LOVE.
Today, I want us to look at JOY.
In the year 1806, a well-dressed man in his twenties visited a doctor who was renowned throughout London for being able to treat what nowadays we’d call depression, but back then was called melancholia. The patient explained that he felt overcome by a terrible sadness, that he didn’t want to get up in the morning. He could not see any point in his existence. “With your condition I would normally prescribe a course of my patent powders,” said the doctor, “but it so happens that I have recently come across something which will alleviate your condition much more quickly .“You must,” he continued, “go to the Covent Garden theatre to see the pantomime, Harlequin and Mother Goose. This is the happiest thing I have ever seen performed on a stage, tears of laugher ran down my face. Why, sir, I can almost guarantee that watching Grimaldi the clown will cure you completely!” “Ah, but doctor,” said the man sadly, “I am Grimaldi the clown.”
Have you ever felt like that man? Sad, hopeless, depressed… your situation has sucked the joy and happiness out of your life?
Or conversely, maybe today you might say I am happy because things are going my way. It’s sunny out, I won the lottery, I am going on vacation soon. I act happy, talk happy, look happy and maybe even smell happy!
But then tomorrow you find yourself back saying, I’m sad because things don’t go my way, I lost my job, my sports team lost…it always rains on my parade.
Happy and sad are dependent on our situation. It’s like riding a roller coaster of emotions, up one day and down the next. By the way God wired us with those emotions.
And yet, JOY is different – it’s an inside job. The Holy Spirit working in and through you. We have JOY on good days and the not so good days. Why is that? Because God Loves you everyday! Our Hope is in Him. Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You can be full of JOY knowing that God is with you working good in every situation.
You may say “I have a lot of issues stealing my JOY! Maybe the Covid world we live in as zapped you of your Joy! Financial, relational, health issues have drained you!”
And yet, Paul who wrote these words was falsely imprisoned, flogged, shipwrecked, endangered, hungry, thirsty, (read about it in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33). Those were awful situations (just like you may be facing) and yet he was filled with the same JOY that God wants to give you, the JOY of knowing that God is with you and Loves you and has a plan for your life here and into eternity.
Joy is based on who we know (Jesus as your Lord and Savior)! My favorite section of God’s Word is Phil 4:4-7. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! To rejoice….to be JOYful.
Did you notice that it says “always”? Not just when things go your way! Our JOY is a condition of our heart…How do we get that JOY?…. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. JOY IS OUR ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
So…now what? Well this verse says:
- Don’t be anxious! Be concerned about issues you face. Do what you can and then leave the rest to God. Worry will rob you of your JOY and never fixes the problem anyway.
- By prayer and petition. Talk to God, listen to Him respond to your concerns. Let Him give you action steps. Find your Hope in Him. The more time you spend with God…the more JOY you will have in your life!!!!
- With Thanksgiving…Being thankful changes everything! Count your blessings. If you lost a job…be thankful you had one in the first place. If you lost a friend…be thankful that you had a friend. No matter how dark life seems, be thankful for your many blessings and for your loving Lord and Savior. Count your blessings!
- What does all of that give you….you can “rejoice always” You will find JOY…and God’s Peace! We will look at Peace on Monday.