Joy: A Fruit of the Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
1 Peter 4:13 (KJV)
Peter reminds us that we will face trials and tribulations in our daily lives. Following Jesus does not equate a suffering-free life. In fact, once we publicly declare our commitment to Christ, we open ourselves up to physical, emotional, and supernatural attacks. In Peter’s time, Christians were continually persecuted. Even today, Christians around the world face death for their belief in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Peter exhorts us to remain joyful when we are under attack.
How can one be joyful when facing illness, death, divorce, losing a job, etc? As a culture, we pursue happiness, and we often confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is manmade; joy comes from God. I wasn’t happy that my daughter had to go through 6 weeks of radiation and have 4 brain surgeries, yet God provided my family with joy. God-filled joy gets greater as your walk with Christ matures, as you spend more time with the Holy Spirit. You develop spiritual maturity by allowing the Fruits of the Spirit to grow within you. Fruit needs to be watered and nurtured to grow. Fruits of the Spirit grow by inviting the Holy Spirit into your life and spending time with Him.
So what is Joy and how can I have this Joy in the middle of pain and sorrow? We will often wrestle with understanding pain and why is it happening, but we can still choose to be joyful, as joy begins with the internal acceptance and relationship with God.
Today’s prayer: Dear Father thank you for the opportunities you have given me in my life. Thank you for the many moments of happiness I have experienced on this journey. Thank you for your Spirit and maturing the fruit of joy in my life. Let me accept the good times and also see your love and glory in those things I don’t understand or that even bring monetary pain and stress. Let people see Jesus Christ in me in the good times and bad times, seeing the spirit of joy, as I know you, and your grace and mercy. Amen