I have been studying the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recurring theme in my messages because I find it fascinating and it is important. The fact that the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us is just amazing. He helps us become more like Jesus. He leads us down the path of love, peace, joy, patience, faith and other beautiful attributes. In a French version of the Bible the fruit of the Spirit is described as fruits. There is more than one. Every one of the great attributes is considered a fruit. In English versions of the Bible it is a fruit that grows into all the attributes. The fruit of the Spirit is presented as a result, an outcome, the accumulation of what the Spirit is or a reward of hard work. There is work involved with the fruit of the Spirit. It takes work to let it grow and to maintain it but as we get into a partnership with the Holy Spirit, it is not hard labor. One aspect of the fruit of the Spirit I have been focusing on is joy. Joy coming from the Lord is like peace that surpasses all understanding. God can give us joy when it just doesn’t make sense in the world.
The Lord’s joy comes and makes fun of sadness and sorrow so to speak. It nullifies them. It suppresses them. It gives them a hard time by disabling them. Have you ever felt the joy of the Lord when you should have been crying or worrying? It’s not the joy that the world gives. It’s the joy that God imparts no matter what we are going through. It doesn’t rely on our circumstances. It doesn’t flare up when things are good and diminish when things are bad. It comes from our God who never changes and who is consistent. Is God joyful only part of the time? No. His joy is permanent. Think about that. Since it is permanent, He can give it to us anytime. There is no preferred time for it and no expiration date on it. Today I want to encourage you to focus on the joy of the Lord. Invite it into your life more. Expect it. Thank God for it and live in it. The joy of the Lord is your strength!
I am a firm believer in jumpstarting joy. We can tap into it if we slide into it. How do we slide into it? First, we must be aware that it is available to us. We have to acknowledge it and thank God for it. I thank God for joy every morning and I expect to have joy during the day. Not just when it is convenient or when it makes sense but out of nowhere joy will be part of my day because the Lord is a joyful Lord and I will rejoice during the day that He made. When I thank the Lord for joy throughout the morning, it comes. If it’s not already there it jumps into me. It shows up and it makes everything look better. Joy has the power to transform our vision of life. When you look at life through the eyes of joy, you appreciate life more. Joy sides with hope and optimism. It sees the light in the darkest tunnels. It lights up your life and makes you smile. With joy comes smiles and laughter.
Do you laugh often? Do you think God wants you to laugh? I believe He wants us to laugh a lot more than we do. We think of the joy of the Lord as a semi-serious matter at times. We can be joyful and smile but we can restrain ourselves from laughing for fear of not being holy or for fear of losing control. I get the giggles sometimes when I pray. I remember a while ago when I had a roommate I couldn’t stop laughing when I was praying and I kept thinking that he was going to say there was something wrong with me. The Bible tells us to rejoice always. This means that it is possible to have joy very often. Jesus had joy in His heart. I can picture Him having dinner with people from all walks of life laughing and making them laugh. He is a diffuser of joy. He gives it free of charge and laughter is part of the His awesome joy package. Jumpstart joy with praise and worship. Dive into it when you are not joyful and you will see how much joy fills your heart. Be joyful every day. The Spirit of the Lord can help you be that way!
Suggested reading: Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18