“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
JOY!!! A lot is said about being happy…..having fun……giggling and laughing…and there is nothing wrong with that, but those feelings don’t last. Those feelings are temporary and also depend on circumstances.
But joy is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. Joy is deep and lasting. Not the same as happiness but is a result of a relationship with God. Happiness is an emotion. It’s something that you feel one minute and could be gone the next, based on what’s going on around. However, JOY is a gift of God. People who are joyful may not always be happy, but they choose to display the joy that God has given them and shine their light so that the world can see.
You may be going through the worst trial known to man, but if you choose to be joyful regardless of your situation, regardless of your past, then God sees and honors that.
Peter encourages us to rejoice that we can honor God by setting a good example even when we are mistreated through our service to Him.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)
We can rejoice knowing that God is always there to help us individually – just as He will help our spiritual brothers and sisters scattered all across the world.
LOVE…..This isn’t the Hollywood version of love. The word for love in this verse is the original Greek word AGAPE.
There are three types of love. EROS love is known as “erotic love.” PHILOS love is a brotherly love (love between friends) and AGAPE love is the ultimate love…it is the unconditional love.
When you love unconditionally, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get hurt…and it doesn’t mean you won’t be talked about….but it does mean that you are displaying the fruit that JESUS displayed!
This quality is significant to our relationship with God, because we can’t know anything about love apart from Him! 1 John 4:8, says, “He who does not know love does not know God, for God is love.” When we have truly felt God’s love for us in sending His only Son to die on the cross for us, then we cannot help but love others as He has loved us. That kind of love will impact us in a life-transforming way!
So we can ‘taste’ that this fruit signifies an unselfish love that gives…without expecting anything in return. Its a love that always seeks the best for its object. A supernatural love of which we’re not capable apart from the Holy Spirit.
I want to be treated with that kind of love. I want to treat others with that kind of love…and we can..when we live by the Spirit.
Tomorrow is JOY!!
Aren’t those qualities beautiful? Read them again and let them soak in. These qualities are the ones that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in our lives.
By our own efforts, these “fruit” could never be produced in us as they were found in Jesus. BUT, through the Holy Spirit living in us, Jesus’ own perfect character can be seen in us!!
“Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 7:19.
Jesus told His disciples that you can tell if someone truly belongs to Him by the kind of spiritual fruit that they produce. Why? Because when you gave your life to Jesus, your salvation wasn’t free….it was bought by a VERY HIGH price!! The death of Christ!!
Now, you might ask yourself why God thinks that you are worthy of that sacrifice. Doesn’t it seem that despite all your attempts at perfection…you constantly miss the mark? Well, our Heavenly Father has a very special kind of love for us and he longs for us to be in His presence.
John Stott said, “The mere recital of these christian graces should be enough to make the mouth water and the heart beat faster. For this is a portrait of Jesus Christ.” Wow….I’ll let that settle in for a minute.
Living by faith in the Son of God is what the fruit of the spirit is all about. Each day I want to take a piece of fruit and we can … eat it together. (oh, I just patted myself on the back for that one!) 🙂
Tomorrow we can take a bite out of LOVE…..
Some people ask me why I’m smiling and why I’m happy all the time. It could be because I don’t have a clue. It could be because I just thought of something really silly. Or it could be that “This is the day that the Lord hath made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it” ~ Psalm 118:24.
I do not have the time or the energy to waste on being anxious, or worried. Yes, my youngest child had a very hard life and lived only to be 15 and one half years old, but HE had a smile on his face and HE gave me the encouragement that I needed to take care of him before he slipped away.
This smiley thingy didn’t just happen. My mother told me that I was a very happy/goofy child. (Hard to believe, huh?) She says that I skipped everywhere I went and didn’t have a care in the world. Well, today as I was on my walk, I had the most terrific urge to SKIP! But I could only imagine what it would look like to the other walkers/runners on the canal. Sooo………….no, I didn’t skip. But I really wanted to.
Laughter, happiness and joy are all gifts from God that help us heal from all of our daily struggles in this life. That is not to say that we shouldn’t rightfully mourn for those devastating situations, but Job 8:21 reminds us that “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy”. Remember this promise during the hard times!
His joy is MIGHTY and POWERFUL!!
Ok..I have started a fabulous new summer bible study, so guess what? You get to learn too! And no, I have graciously decided not to charge you a dime. And you’re welcome.
The book of Ruth. What a gal! First she’s married, then a widow, then a servant, then a foreigner…Whew! She is presented as a godly woman who was left with a mother-in-law, who had recently changed her name to “bitter”…..(ok…mom sounds like a real pip).
So Dear Ruth faced quite a lot of challenges yet did so with such grace she’s got her own book in the Bible! Eeek! I just imagined in that second what the book of Sandi would be like!! I don’t think I would like to see my life in print, thank you very much.
So let me get started on my study and I will let you in on the scoop of Ruth.
And I’m writing from Omaha, Nebraska, where the college world series is being played (can’t you hear the thrill in my voice? Me either) Anywho.. I am typing from my iPad and it is taking forever. So please forgive any typos…
blessings to you,my friends!!
Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee…….we all know this song….but did you know it was sung by Beaker from the Muppets? I didn’t think so…
I believe that everyone wants to be happy. And all through the Bible we are encouraged to be joyful. In Nehemiah 8:10 the Word says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” And that, my friends, is what has held me together like glue for most of my years.
I was never a quiet, somber person….in fact, that made me giggle just thinking about it! Everything that happens to me can be viewed as…funny. In fact there isn’t much that I don’t enjoy. I enjoy waking up. I enjoy my breakfast of boring oatmeal! I will specifically add raisins in a happy face when there is NO ONE home but me!! I just make myself enjoy life.
I believe that joy is a decision. When I wake up in the morning, I tell God….”Ok, here we go again! Make it fun for me!” And He does. I remember walking on the canal one day, not feeling particularly joyful and having my prayer time. I told God that I needed something to make me laugh. WITHOUT DELAY, a duck flew out of the canal about 3 feet from me and started quacking. Ok….when was the last time you heard a duck quack? It SOUNDS like someone laughing!!! I immediately laughed and thanked God for hearing my prayers. I decided right then and there to be happy where I was and told myself that I didn’t need those things to bring me joy…..but it sure did help at the moment!
Psalm 37: 4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”