March 14, 2010

Joy Is a Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against these things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

This is no new revelation. But it is easy in this list to start concentrating on the other "harder" fruits like patience and self-control, where we immediately feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When we're having a particularly difficult day we can say to ourselves, "Today I'm exhibiting faithfulness and love by persevering in these things and self-control when I'm falsely accused and don't retaliate, vindicate or defend myself."

As we put off anxiety, exhibiting peace becomes more evident, too. The more we trust in the sovereignty of God, that He is in complete control of everything, the less we begin to worry about the small stuff and even the big stuff.

Kindness and gentleness may come more easily as a parent who naturally loves and feels compassion for your own children.

But what about joy?

Especially in those trying and difficult moments of the day or even during seasons of life where joy just seems to escape the expression of our faces and homes, are we convicted that we don't have more joy?

I can't put on a mask for very long. It looks fake and rightly so. If I don't feel it in my heart, I won't express it on my face or in my general dealings throughout the day. I want to have a joy-filled home and it must begin with me. I've heard it said that the husband was the head of the home and the wife is the heart of the home. "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Joy comes from Christ and not our circumstances. Can we still have joy when things are not going the way we thought or wanted? Can we have joy despite the worst of times and we are hard pressed on every side trying to meet all the demands of life and complete all our tasks?

Yes. There is joy inexpressible in Christ! He is the only One who can satisfy thirsty souls. He is the only One that can understand whatever current sufferings we endure. And when we need encouragement we can cry out to Him and seek His grace. None of us have had the immense burden of enduring 33+ years of remaining sinless and holy in our actions and thoughts! None of us have had to endure the pain and torture of the cross carrying the sins of the people of God! He holds in His hands the keys of death and Hades!

Let us joy in the fact that, as believers, we are not on our way to utter torment in fire for all eternity! We are not trapped in the futility of our minds, darkened in our understanding and ignorant of the love and justice of God! We have an immeasurable number of blessings heaped upon us - the foremost being Christ Himself, greater than any material or immaterial blessing He could ever give. The amazing grace that He chose us when we didn't choose Him when He could have left our hearts hardened in our desire for sin and rebellion, like so many others who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness. He is perfectly righteous and exchanges our filthiness and inadequacy for His perfect righteousness and holiness that we could never even begin to achieve no matter how hard we try.

Imagine the beauty of His holiness! What it will be like to stand in His presence, face to face, seeing Him clearly and for that moment of sheer bliss to seem like an eternity of wonder - we will never want to leave and we won't have to! All our fears will be cast away! All our painful memories will be erased. All of the longings of our hearts will be sanctified and filled. We will be glorified and removed from the presence of all sin and no longer influenced by it's power.

Imagine that glorious Day of victory! When Christ crushes the Enemy under our feet! We will look down upon him in triumph at last! No more addictions. No more idols of the heart. No more deception. No more subtleties. We won't have to discern between good and bad, better and best. Our Redeemer lives! Death is swallowed up in victory!

Remember this and let it bring a smile to your face! And there are so many other aspects of Christ that can bring us joy! He is infinite. And He should be enough to make us smile when we don't feel like smiling. If we feel we need something more let us fall down and repent of our idolatry. He is more than enough for our weary, hungry, tired, beat-down souls.

Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say, rejoice!

1 comment:

Jeramy Anderson said...

A thankful heart rejoices while a thankless heart is bitter.