April 7, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit Study: Joy

~ Joy is a light

"You're the joy/The song in my heart/The hope of my soul/In the shadows/In the sorrows/In the desert/When the pain hits/You are constant/Ever-present/You're the song of my heart/You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul/The joy joy joy making me whole/Though I'm broken, I am running/Into Your arms of love/Into Your arms..." Joy, Rend Collective Experiment

The light we need in the darkest place is Joy. God is the ultimate provider for Joy, so when we want it, we must need God, as well. We cannot have Joy apart from God; what we call Joy is often happiness.  Though it may be uplifting, it may not be what God wants for us. 

Joy is a choice

"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than look down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow." ~ G.K. Chesterton

This is joy...to find good in the bad.  

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you meet trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." ~ James 1:2-3 

We must choose to have a joyful heart and give thanks for whatever has happened, despite what should have happened. 

~ We need child-like Joy

An adorable little boy on a home video is shown.  He's laughing and laughing; carefree and innocent.  When we are children, we don't know any better but to have that innocent, pure joy, but as we grow up into the cares and responsibilities of life, it nudges our joy into the corner.  We must learn to have that child-like joy despite the other grown-up things of life.

~ We can find Joy in the hardest places

A man named Nick Vujicic was born without any limbs and his testimony defends his reason for clinging to God and the Joy that comes from him. He demands of himself and other people to search inside, to discover who they really are, regardless of what they look like or think. "Why be broken on the inside and whole on the outside?"  His joy, faith, and hope come from God, and his amazing story brings joy to those who understand it.

~ Joy is a gift

There are many kinds of things we call joy.  Joy can be defined as happiness, but it's not true joy.  Joy is the real, tangible feeling within us, but not one that we can call to our sides like an animal.  Joy is a gift that we are offered.  When we can lay down every hindrance before us, open the wrapping paper, and look inside, we will see a roaring flame.  Happiness is a little spark, that dies away as quickly as it began, but Joy is the forest fire that ignites our soul; it engulfs us.  But at the same beautiful time, it is a restoring, beautiful, needed spring of cool, clear, needed water.  The current of flame and flood engulf us with Joy, proving to the world that we have taken hold of God's perfect Joy. 

"...flame and flood engulf us with Joy..."

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