“But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy,” (Galatians 5:22)
WAIT A MINUTE! Melissa, you want to talk about JOY right NOW?!?!?! Absolutely! Don’t you understand what is going on right now? I do, and I could not think of a better time to talk about JOY- I’ll tell you why! Keep reading…
As I sit here, writing about joy, I am aware that our Nation & the Nations of this world are facing one of the most incredibly challenging times ever. This Global pandemic has severely disrupted life, death tolls are devastating, and it feels next to impossible to see how we will move forward! So, you still want to talk about JOY Melissa- yes!
I guarantee that not one of us ever anticipated 2020 looking the way it does right now! Perhaps when the clock struck 12 am January 1st you were believing & hoping for BIG-EXCITING things to unfold. Seniors getting ready to graduate, wedding plans finalized, entertainment tours were booked, flights booked for travel, time with family, the list is endless…
YET, within 3 short months into the 2020 year, everything changed. Graduation ceremonies canceled/changed, wedding plans halted, booked tours canceled, flights/vacations canceled, families needing to adjust, people laid off, and the death toll increases; just to name a few.
And still our passage reads…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy,” (Galatians 5:22)
In Greek that word JOY is χαρά (chara). n. joy. The experience of gladness.
It is pointed out that, “when a person lives in the sphere of love, then he experiences joy—that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances. (A case in point is Paul’s experience recorded in Phil. 4:10–20.) This ‘holy optimism’ keeps him going in spite of difficulties” (Wiersbe, 1996).
As one artist writes, “I have found a joy that jumps over sadness,” (Kim Walker-Smith “I Have Found”). She continues by stating that the reason her JOY can jump over sadness is because, “I have found, I’ve found You.” You see what she is proclaiming is that through EVERY storm, every bit of sadness and dark situation, JOY is not a feeling but rather it is who Jesus is- His JOY is my strength- it is a JOY the world cannot give & one the world cannot take away! Through JESUS I can jump over EVERY bit of sadness & I can bear the fruit of the Spirit- JOY- greater still…I can offer life giving nourishment to those around me- especially in this season! WOW! (Selah- stop, pause, consider…).
I find peace in this truth, “Joy…is not something produced by circumstances, nor ephemeral pleasures, but rather is generated by the indwelling Spirit and so can be manifested often in spite of one’s circumstances or health,” (Witherington, 1998).
One author states,
“it is anxiety that robs us of our joy. And what is anxiety but fear? Fear is the enemy of joy. It is hard to be joyful when we are afraid…We shed our anxieties, and the fruit of the Spirit ripens in us again. If we understand who Christ is and what He has done for us, we have a new dimension of joy,” (Sproul, 2012).
JOY– the experience of gladness, an inward peace not affected by outward circumstances, the very nature of Jesus, a fruit that can bring nourishment for others, and is generated by the indwelling of Holy Spirit. WOW!
When I consider all the world faces right now, I am convinced more now then ever that this is the season for JOY, true joy, to be the fruit we bear! What an incredible gift we have been given through the indwelling of Holy Spirit, and what a beautiful display of Christ in us to produce JOY-fruit through our lives for each person we connect with.
The hope is this, even in the midst of trial, disappointment, grief, and loss we are not slaves to our emotions. God has given us every emotion we experience, and our hearts are so precious to him. As we walk through all of the emotions being stirred up in this season, we can know JOY is available; available to all those connected to you! So in the middle of what appears to be new-normal’s, and our 2020 plans shifting, we don’t have to be swallowed up by our emotions. We can have JOY that jumps over sadness, and is on display for all to see!
The question remains, how will we LIVE-JOY today? Who needs to see the evidence of this fruit in your life today? Take a moment, quiet your heart & ask Holy Spirit to show you how to live this joy out loud. Maybe you need JOY’S fruit to ripen. All of this is so beautiful to the Father! You have permission to engage your heart with Him.
Before I go, I want to share a song with you, a song that came to me during a time when my circumstances were trying to tell me a story opposite the truths I shared today. As you listen, I encourage you to do so with fresh perspective!
Side note…you may want to turn up the volume & get ready to dance!
Thank you for joining me today! Would you take a moment to share this post, and to comment below on how you will LIVE-JOY! I believe that strength will come through our testimony.
I’ll see you next Tuesday when we talk about how to LIVE-PEACE.
This is the story He wrote!
R. C. Sproul, Can I Have Joy in My Life?, First edition., vol. 12, The Crucial Questions Series (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2012), 5–6.
Ben Witherington III, Grace in Galatia: A Commentary on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 409.
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 720.