Sunday, August 2, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit - Joy

The second characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit is Joy.  Joy is a Christian’s word.  Happiness is the world’s word.  The New Testament doesn’t use the word happiness or even promise it.  It uses the word joy.  Happiness is the result of what happens.  Joy comes from deep inside.  It is a spring that never runs dry, no matter what happens.  Only Jesus gives joy.

What is joy?  Joy is the reaction when you are set free!  Jesus did that when He died for us on the cross.  Now we don’t have to pay the price for our sins.  Jesus paid it for us.  So there should be joy in our hearts.  We should live like we are joyful.  Be thankful for the freedom we have and the many blessing we have in this life.  We have joy in God’s grace.  We don’t deserve what he did for us.  If we got what we deserved, we would never, never see heaven.  Doesn’t this make you joyful?

It’s hard to be joyful in the hard times, but we should have joy knowing that God is with us through them.  God uses every trial to help you become stronger in your faith.  No matter how bad things get in this life, God can still heal and deliver us.  He can still restore us, if we are willing to work with Him.  God can restore our joy in Him.  The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  Listen and work with His Spirit and He will release joy in you.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” - James 1:2-4.

The Bible says many, many time to “rejoice”.  To rejoice means have joy and be joyful.  We are commanded to be joyful.  God is on our side and there is no reason we should not be joyful.  “Let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; let those also who love your name be joyful in you.”Ps. 5:11. 

We have joy in many ways.  There is joy in prayer, worship, and in love.  We show joy in giving.  God loves a cheerful given.  Show gratitude to God and others by accepting everything with joy.  Never let anything fill you with sorrow and make you forget the joy of the risen Christ.  1 Thess. 5:16 says to rejoice always.

Be joyful singing and praising to God.  “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice, and sing praise.”Ps 98:4.  You don’t have to carry a tune or have a beautiful voice to sing praises to God.  God looks at our hearts and He wants us to praise Him and be joyful when we do it. 

I love to sing in church and in the car with my radio.  I know my voice could be a lot better, but I sing joyfully from my heart and that’s what God wants.  Then one day when I get to heaven, God will give us a beautiful voice.  Until then He thinks my voice is beautiful and that’s all that matters.

Ways to live with joy:
Laugh a lot and put a smile on someone’s face.
Don’t let your thoughts get you down.
Be thankful in all things.
Strive for your goals and dreams - always have something to look forward to.
Be forgiving not only to others, but to yourself.
Develop healthy relationship with family and friends.
Do things that lift your spirits.
Be optimistic.
Lighten up and don’t be too serious.
Take time to rest and relax – take a vacation.
Pray, read your Bible, obey God, worship and praise God.
Never forget the source of your joy.

How deep does your joy go?
How do others see joy in your life?
How could your life change to be more joyful?

“Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
And his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
---  Psalm 100

Next time we will talk more about the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.  We still have peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to cover.  Hope to see you here.

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