Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Fruit of the Spirit is... JOY

"Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; 
make known his deeds among the peoples! 
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all 
his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; 
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his 
presence continually!"

                                   (Psalm 105:1-4 ESV)

Joy... What a wonderful topic :)!

A Christian's joy is something so much more than just happiness. Anybody can be happy. When things are going our way, we're getting everything we want, and nobody is annoying us, we are in a state where everything is working with our fleshly desires. There is nothing there that makes our flesh put up a fuss against our Savior's commands or the circumstances that he has given. This state has been given the term "happy". But joy goes *so* much deeper than simply enjoying momentary pleasure. Our joy is not stemmed from circumstances, but from our fellowship with God. We "rejoice in the Lord; (We) will take joy in the God of (our) salvation", Habakkuk 3:18. In the Lord, we always have something to joy about! We are claimed by him! He is ours, and we are his! Everything we do, he is walking with us all the way, sometimes carrying us, sometimes disciplining us, stretching us, comforting us. If all we had to joy in was our salvation, it would be enough to keep us singing his praises for a life time!

But what about during trials? How are we to joy then? Joy is a choice. God commands it, yes. Just like he commands love, and obedience to our parents, he has commanded joy. And just with love and obedience, joy doesn't come naturally. But through God's grace we have his help to make the right choice -to choose joy even in trials. James 1:2 tells us, "Count it all joy, brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." Even our trials are being used for his glory! He is making us "steadfast", growing us closer to him, causing us to realize more and more that he is the reason we rejoice, and we will praise him still, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2). We can choose to look past the spilled milk... or broken figurine, lost shirt, or wreaked plans... and choose to to say "Thy will be done, Lord. I trust you still. Show me what you want me to learn from this situation, and help me to praise you still", and then look for things that you do have to be thankful for that tie directly into the situation that you want to get discouraged in or frustrated about

Paul tells us that we are to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15) and "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"  (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even when we are weeping, he reminds us, we have something to be joyful- not just happy, but joyful- about. "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Psalms 30:5). There are so many things to rejoice in, to be thankful for. One of the ways that I try to make thankfulness and joy a part of my life is to try to set aside some time each week to write down the little things that I am thankful for that week. That was how Thankful Thursdays were born and this blog got it's title... and they are some of my favorite posts to write! Sometimes it's just a fun little thing to do, but other times, it is a time to sit and think of all that I have to thank God for even when things seem hard. William Vander Hoven tells us that "Joy is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ."

I wrote some more thoughts on rejoicing a couple years ago, which you can find here, and Katie's post on joy is here :). What are some of your thoughts on the commandment to rejoice?

Blessings to you all,


"What I need is a more grateful heart to the giver of every good and perfect gift" ~"Stonewall" Thomas Jackson

No comments:

Post a Comment

"May the Lord, the God of your fathers... bless you!" Deuteronomy 1:11