Joy – Fruit of the Spirit

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!” 

Psalm 35:9, “And my soul shall rejoice in the Lord; it shall exult in His salvation.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always;”

Psalm 119:14, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.”

Joy is one of the most important aspects of the Christian walk, and yet it is so often overlooked, excused, or ignored. Joy should define and characterize each follower of Christ who has experienced true salvation. But what most people don’t realize is that joy is not an option, that they are not free to indulge in their own fleshly passions and emotions. Joy is commanded multiple times in Scripture, but rarely obeyed. Why are the virtues like thankfulness, contentedness, and true worship gone from the midst of the body of believers? They have been replaced by greediness, depression, and idolatry. These sinful patterns will never bring satisfaction in the Christian life. But real and true, God-given joy always brings meaning and purpose to a life that is devoted to serving Christ.

Joy in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. First and foremost, our joy originates from the belief that Christ gave up the glory and majesty of heaven to live and die among men who are not worthy to stand in His presence. We rejoice because we have experienced love and grace immeasurable and overflowing from bloody hands and feet which were pierced so that we might escape eternal punishment. If we have not yet found joy in our Savior Jesus Christ, how can we begin to find joy in other aspects of the Christian life? Salvation must be our initial cause of joy. We do not deserve the joy that Christ gives us through salvation, but we rejoice that He has provided it for us through His sacrifice.

Joy in God’s Word. Gladness and joy in God is marked by a love for His Word. One who truly loves God as his/her Lord and Savior will have a fervent desire to know Him, to be close to Him, to mirror Him, to talk to Him, and to obey Him. This is all done through the study and knowledge of God’s Word. But one will never study something that he/she has no joy in studying.  Do we desire to know and obey God? Then we must find joy in studying, memorizing, and learning His commands in His love letter to us. Oh that all believers would love the Word as the Psalmist in Psalm 119 loved the Scriptures!  So often, the “Christians” in the church today think that they can get by without the daily study of Scripture. But not only is this planning to fail in their walk with Christ, but it is also indicative of a lack of the presence and cultivation of joy in Christ and in His Word.

Joy in all circumstances. First, we all agree that joy, rejoicing, and praise to God comes naturally when God blesses us, especially when we didn’t ask for it. But is it true joy? True joy in God’s blessings is only cultivated through continual recognition, thankfulness, and praise to the One who supplied the blessings. Admittedly, it is difficult to constantly praise and glorify God, rather than just taking those gifts and going on as if He finally paid us our dues. But even so, we must make it our ambition to show continual thanks and joy in His wonderful generosity. Secondly, continual thanksgiving and joy must extend to when God chooses to discipline or grow us in our faith through trials, persecution, and hardship. The real word for joy in hardship is contentment. Contentedness in God springs from joy in the knowledge that He is sovereign and that He yet will supply the joy in the midst of hardship. Yes, God will supply just enough joy for us to endure the trial and come out rejoicing on the other side. But will we accept and cultivate that joy in our own lives?

For the believer who longs to be like Christ, joy must permeate his/her life always…..everywhere, anywhere, with everyone, all the time. This is not included in the fruits of the Spirit for no reason. God desires for us to find our joy in Him. So….we must pursue joy in all things with reckless abandon!

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Joy – Fruit of the Spirit”
  1. Patrick says:

    I have been thinking about this myself lately. Thank the Lord for Joy…

  2. Joy in all circumstances. It’s a hard thing to do. I was reading the Scripture this morning, saw this verse, and thought of you. Paul had joy in all circumstances, and he was constantly in midst of difficulties. Colossians 1:24-

    24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

    Do your work heartily as unto the Lord. We are to have joy in our suffering, for in that suffering for Christ, we are performing our duty as children of God. Yet, how much suffering does the American believer go through when compared to believers in other countries? It’s almost laughable, how we have a tendency to grumble and complain about our simple daily tasks while there are believers in India on death row for their faith in Christ!! We must rejoice always! Because we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God. We know that in all suffering, after we have passed through the flames of Satan’s persecution, we are hardened with greater endurance. James 1:2, 3, and 4-

    2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    Joy is vital for the Christian walk. We must have it constantly, showing the outworking in our lives, that we may glorify God.

    James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.

    Thanks for the post. Very thought-provoking and edifying. So I was thinking how hard it is for us to actually get to talk without interruption(though we must still have joy with what time we are given to talk), so I figured I would just keep reading. 🙂 See ya Wednesday!

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