Thursday, June 28, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit -- Joy

Chuckle: How would the world be different if people didn't get married? "There would be a lot of children to explain, wouldn't there?" --Kelvin, age 8
Quote: “The Kingdom of God is simply God’s power enthroned in our hearts. Faith in the Kingdom of God is what makes us light of heart and what Christian joy is all about.” –John Main Moment of Christ

"By their fruit you will recognize them (Christ's followers)" (Matthew 7:16 NIV). "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:16,22 NIV).
The Greek word for "joy" also means "delight." It’s used elsewhere in the New Testament. For example, there is joy or rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents and turns to God (Luke 15:7,10). Joy for Christians is the fruit of a right relationship with God.
Is there a difference "happiness" and "joy"? We tend to view happiness largely as the result of circumstances we experience in life. However, joy, as a fruit of the Spirit, is of supernatural origin and does not result from earthly circumstances, but from knowing and serving our Lord. It springs from so deep inside God's grace that even the most adverse circumstances cannot take it away. The Bible says, "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV).
Again, since joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is not something people can create by their own efforts. The Bible distinguishes joy from pleasure. The Greek word for pleasure is the word from which we get our word hedonism, the philosophy of the self-centered and pleasure-seeking. Paul referred to false teachers as "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:4 NIV).
Many people think that God is the great "Kill-Joy." Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus spoke of His own joy and of the full joy He had come to bring to others (John 15:11; 17:13). He illustrated the kingdom of heaven by telling about the joy of a man who found treasure (Matthew 13:44). Zacchaeus was in a tree when Jesus called him, but he quickly climbed down and received Jesus joyfully (Luke 19:6). He had found life's ultimate treasure in Christ.
A Christian's joy is in direct proportion to his/her walk with the Lord. We can rejoice because we are in the Lord (Philippians 4:4). Joy is a fruit of a Spirit-led life (Galatians. 5:22). Sin in a believer's life robs him/her of joy (Psalm 51:8,12). When a person walks closely with the Lord, he/she can continue to rejoice even when troubles come.
Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given them. They share with other believers the joys and sorrows of life: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15). It’s a wonderful testimony about God's grace when we reflect the joy the Holy Spirit places in our hearts. Such joy can certainly influence others who may not know Christ as Savior and Lord. Real joy is contagious. .!!
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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