This week I’m continuing a blog series on the fruit of the Spirit. I’m excited about this series and I’m believing God that we continue to be FRUITFUL! So this week let’s talk about The Fruit of the Spirit – Joy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.-Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
“Do what makes you happy. Whatever makes you happy, go for it! Happiness is the key to life. Don’t worry, be happy! If he doesn’t make you happy, then move on!” These are the kinds of statements that society and culture has told us; that happiness is what matters most. These statements aren’t truth, they are feel good sentiments. The problem is happiness is an emotion. Happiness can come and go depending on exterior circumstance. If we are just moving towards what makes us happy then we are moving towards disappointment. News Flash: We aren’t always going to be happy. People will let us down, leadership will let us down, our spouse will let us down, our kids will let us down, our life may let us down…. so is happiness really the goal? Some say, “If I had more money, I’d be happy.” The problem is there are many rich and famous people who’ve committed suicide because they didn’t find happiness. Money won’t make you happy, it will just make you more comfortable in your misery. Happiness comes and goes like a warm summer breeze.
Happiness is often mistaken with joy. Joy and happiness might be closely related but they are actually very different. Happiness takes place in your soul. Your soul is your mind, will, and emotions. So when you experience something fun or exciting your soulish response is happiness. But what about when you experience something that is frustrating or disappointing, well then you experience sadness in your emotions; also known as your soul. We are made up of a trichotomy. We are a spirit, we have a soul, we live in a body. As believers, it’s vital for us to understand that our souls are what Jesus came to save and when we get saved our spirits are where the Holy Spirit takes residence, and our bodies, well they are just the vehicle to get us to our destiny. So when something good happens to us we feel happiness in our soul.
Let’s look at the Apostle Paul, “the joyful jailbird” as I like to put it. He was jailed for preaching the gospel and while he was on house arrest for two years in Rome, Paul’s Roman incarceration produced three great letters to the churches of Ephesus, Colosse, and Philippi, as well as a personal letter to his friend Philemon. His other two-year imprisonment, in Caesarea, afforded him no such luxuries but the letter to the Philippians is what I want to zero in on in this post.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.” -Philippians 1:3-4
“I rejoice and share my joy with you all.” -Philippians 2:17
“Rejoice in the Lord.” -Philippians 3:1
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” -Philippians 4:4
The Apostle Paul spoke about joy not happiness. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. This means it is only experienced in our spirit which is what should override our soul basically our joy should override our emotions. Joy is a permanent attitude. It is what keeps us moving forward when all else seems to have gone to crap. Joy is something different. Joy is when everything seems to being going to hell but I praise Him anyway! I reJOICE because of who God is! I give Him praise in my most dire of circumstances! Joy is when I don’t know how things are going to turn out but I have faith that God is a good Father and He will turn it out for my favor! This is joy. Joy is where we should live as believers. It is a fruit that is grown through tough situations and maybe even continuous heartache. Joy is what puts a smile on our face when there’s no reason to smile. Whatever you are going through right now, please believe me joy will get you through it. Joy is more than a fruit it is actual strength that will make sure you make it!
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)
Nehemiah encourages us to stay in joy because it is something that will keep us going. No matter what you experience this week, remember that joy will keep things alright in your world.
Stay in JOY!