“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Hey friends, this week we are taking a look at the Fruit of the Spirit Joy. What do you think of when you think of joy? I think of laughing with the people I care about, smiles, warm fuzzy feelings, the moment when I see my waiter coming with my food, etc. These things make me happy! Joy is often confused with happiness, while they are similar they are not the same. Happiness is a feeling, it comes and goes depending on your circumstance or the day you are having, it is for the most part external. You can usually see when someone is happy, but may not always see when someone is full of joy. Joy is not as easy to distinguish because it is often internal. While happiness is a feeling, joy is a state of mind. It is not dependent on what’s going on around you, but rather a conscious choice to be joyful.
My circumstances do not determine my joy, but my attitude to my circumstances can determine my joy. We all have a lot going on, usually too much. We have jobs, school, family, friends, relationships, pets, deadlines, and various other activities begging for our attention. It is very easy to get down and out about life when we feel like we do not have time for everything we need to do. We get stressed, and stress is an instant joy zapper. When our circumstances begin to take away our joy, it may be time for a detox. I am not saying to quit your job, leave your family or throw out the dog, but rather to take a step back and evaluate what is important in your life. Here are few steps and scriptures to help put back joy in your life.
I am not talking about a juice fast here, but rather removing things that are no good for you and replacing them with something that is good for you. We all have things that we would be better off without or at least better off with less of it. For example, social media is a great thing to detox. If you are feeling down because the people you follow on the internet are having more fun than you it is probably time to log out and have some fun of your own. I have said this before and will continue to say it every time I get the chance…do not let your joy be dependent on the highlights of someone else’s life. Because that is all they are, the highlights, those people have bad days too, they have days that are not very fun and exciting, and they compare themselves to people that they think are better off than them too. But no one’s life is perfect, so quit allowing that to steal your joy. If you are in a season of singleness and it is affecting your joy then stop reading romance novels, watching chick flicks, etc. These things will not change your situation, they will only leave you feeling miserable and bad about yourself. Your joy will not come in the form of any other human, no matter how perfect you imagine it to be. Our joy comes from Christ, and being at peace with who God has created us and where He has put us for this time. Perhaps God has something He wants to show or teach us in our current season, but we are too concerned with the next stage of life to notice. We can not move from one chapter to the next until the chapter we are in now is complete. God will not waste our time! We can not all be in the same season together, it would be far too crowded. We each have a different story, but it is our story and that is what makes it special. God is doing something in you, whether you see it now or not. Do not let your circumstances (or someone else’s circumstances) determine your joy. Detox from things bringing you down and find peace in knowing that some things may make you happy for a little while but only Jesus can bring you true joy. The Bible says that a cheerful heart is like good medicine, so your prescription is to detox and seek joy.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22
2. Be Thankful
How often is our joy robbed from us just by not realizing what we already have? We are so blessed, just by waking up today we are blessed…not everyone got to do that today. We have people in our life that love us, we have clothes on our back and probably a closet full of them at home. We have access to clean water, and the money to have it bottled up and packaged for us. We have kitchens full of food, and can go through a drive thru to buy more without having to even get out of our cars. Compared to the greater part of the world we have way more than we actually need! We often forget this, and become wrapped up in what we do not have. This can lead to a lack of contentment, greed, selfishness, or the like. All of which are enemies of joy. In our search for joy finding contentment is key. If we are always looking for more, we forget to enjoy what God has already given us. Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life”, John 10:10. He does not want you being miserable He wants you to live a life full of joy! So do not sit around wishing your life was different, wishing you had more of this or less of that, but rather be thankful. Because you have been blessed and the only thing keeping you from a rich and satisfying life is the inability to see that you already have one. So thank God for what He has done every single day. And when you forget make a list to remind yourself, because as you begin to see all that you do have suddenly what you do not have seems so trivial. Joy comes with thankfulness, so choose to be thankful.
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2
3. Jesus = Joy
You can not have real joy without Jesus. You may find temporary happiness but there will still be a void that only Jesus can fill. True Joy comes from knowing and serving Jesus with all your heart. That is where your fulfillment lies. My life can be falling apart but if I am close to Jesus I can still have joy. We will all hard times and bad days, but Psalm 30:5 says that joy comes in the morning. That means that even in our hard times and bad days we are promised joy! Joy through Jesus requires dependency on Him. The Bible says in John 15:5 : “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” The Bible once again mentions fruit, but this time it refers to Jesus as our vine. The thing about a vines and branches is that branches receives everything it needs from the vine. The vine sustains them. The branch can bear fruit and grow as it please as long as it is connected to the vine. This symbolizes our relationship with God, our joy comes from Him, He does not require our good works and deeds, He just wants us to remain close to Him. And when we remain in Him, we bear good fruit automatically. Staying in the presence of God produces not just joy but all of the fruits of the Spirit in our life. But we have to submit to the vine, because apart from the vine the branch is of no use at all. So cling to this my friends, God has a lifetime of joy for you just remain in Him. Trust Him!
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15:11
So leave today comforted that you have a God that loves you, a God who offers you Joy and a rich, satisfying life! Remove the things in your life that are holding you back, remember to thankful Him for all that He has done and stay close to Jesus. Choose joy, my friends, it is there for the taking!
“This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Abide In the Vine Friends,