The View From Here

The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3): Joy

The second characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit is Joy.  Joy is a Christian’s word, while happiness, on the other hand, is the world’s word.  The New Testament doesn’t use the word happiness or even promise it.  It uses the word joy.  Happiness is the result of what happens, but joy comes from deep inside.  It is a spring that never runs dry, no matter what happens.  Only Jesus gives joy.

 What is joy?  Joy is our reaction to are freedom in Christ!  The freedom Jesus provided us when He died for us on the cross.  Now we don’t have to pay the price for our sins.  Jesus paid it for us.  So there should be joy in our hearts.  We should live like we are joyful.  We should be thankful for the freedom we have and the many blessing we have in this life.  We have joy in God’s grace.  We don’t deserve what he did for us.  If we got what we deserved, we would never, never see heaven.  Doesn’t this make you joyful?

 It’s hard to be joyful in the hard times, but we should have joy knowing that God is walking with us through them.  God uses every trial to help us become stronger in your faith.  No matter how bad things get in this life, God still has the power to heal and deliver us.  He can still restore us, if we open our hearts to him.  God can restore our joy in Him.  The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, work with the Holy Spirit and  He will fill you with joy.  “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”  (James 1:2-4)

 The Bible tells us time and time again to “rejoice.”  To rejoice means have joy and to be joyful.  We are commanded to be joyful, and with God on our side, we have no reason not to be joyful. “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever.  May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You.”  (Psalm 5:11)

 We are given joy in many ways.  There is joy in prayer, worship, and in love.  We show joy in giving, God loves a cheerful giver.  We show gratitude to God and to others by accepting everything with joy.  Never let the dreary things in life fill you with sorrow and make you forget the joy of the fact that Jesus is Risen!  1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to rejoice always!

 Be joyful!  Sing praises to God!  “Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.”  (Psalm 98:4).  You don’t have to sing on key, hold a tune, carry a beat, or have a beautiful voice to sing praises to God.  God looks at our hearts and He wants us to praise Him and be joyful when we do it. 

 I love to sing in church and in the car with my radio.  I know my voice could be a lot better, but I sing joyfully from my heart and that’s what God wants.  Then one day when I get to heaven, God will give us all beautiful voices.  Until then I will sing with joy in my heart and that’s all that matters.

 Never forget the source of your joy.

 

How deep does your joy go?

How do others see joy in your life?

How could your life change to be more joyful?

 

“Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
Acknowledge that Yahweh is God.
He made us, and we are His —
His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal;
His faithfulness endures through all generations.”  (Psalm 100)

Posted by Rodney DeJager with 0 Comments

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 2): Love

Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the Spirit, a list of qualities God grows in those who follow and depend on Jesus. These qualities describe Jesus Himself.  Jesus became like us (Phil. 2:7), so we could become like Him.  If you belong to Jesus, then you have new life and are being remade to be like Jesus (Col. 3:10; Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17). The first quality in God’s grow-list is love.  Read on to discover what the love of Jesus in your life looks like.

First, there are a few different words in the original Greek that Paul could have used for our English word “love.”  There is “phileo,” which is a familial and emotional love. And there is “agapao” (agape), which is unconditional love (no matter what the relationship or feelings).  I heard someone say agape has “stick-ability,” you stick with the person through thick and then, whether he deserves it or not.  All the New Testament commands in the Bible “to love” use the word “agapao.”  This kind of love has also been known as “sacrificial love.”

The love Jesus demonstrates is the “agapao” love.  Jesus described the love he had for his disciples and for you: “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).  Jesus literally died for you, and now God works to grow this quality in you.  While you might not die in battle, or on the mission field, you will have opportunity to “lay down” your life.  What might that look like?

It is called “dying to self.” It is when you set your preferences aside, and consider others more important.  We die to self when we decide that people are more important than entertainment.  Parents decide to play a game with their kids instead of veg out in front of the TV.  Spouses choose to not complain to others about their partner.  You might decide telling someone about Jesus is more important than what it might cost you (reputation, relationships, job).    In Philippians 2, Jesus is given as the greatest example of this.  He set aside his glory and invincibility as God and “emptied himself,” taking on the form of a servant.  He became weak, considered you more important than himself, and died for you.  Now, if you follow him, God is growing this quality in you. Following Jesus looks like loving others like Jesus loved you. 

Where is your needle on the scale between self-preservation and self-sacrifice?  Remember that famous quote from Jim Elliot?  “He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

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