Fruit of the Spirit–JOY
(Part two of a series on Galatians 5:22-23)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy”
Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)
Whether young or old, rich or poor, male or female, virtually everyone desires a joyous life. I can’t imagine anyone in his or her right mind who would opt for a joyless existence. Sadly, though, many people seem to drift through life never experiencing much in the way of joy. But this need not be the case.
The Oxford dictionary defines joy as gladness, pleasure. Biblically speaking, God is the author of joy, and his desire is to share his joy with you and me. David wrote about this in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Emphasis mine throughout). David recognised his frailty and inability to produce lasting joy in his own life, and when he was depressed as a result of personal sin, he asked God to “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Psalm 51:12).
Many things in life can rob us of joy—things like the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, accidents, depression, poor health, etc. It’s at times like this that we need the help of God’s Holy Spirit, of family and friends, and church members. In some cases professional help may be needed to alleviate problems like depression and anxiety. We must never be too proud to ask for help when we need it. On rare occasions down the years I have experienced short bouts of mild depression – you know – that old dark cloud that hangs over one for weeks. Thankfully, it has always lifted as a result of heartfelt prayer. I’m reminded of that encouraging scripture in Psalm 30:5, “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
God is in the business of helping and blessing us, no matter what our troubles or trials may be (1 Corintians10:13). With God on our side we have the power of the universe behind us, and no trial or obstacle is too great for him to handle. He may not remove all our problems overnight, but he will grant us the grace, strength and joy to move ahead, positively with our lives.
Jesus was no stranger to troubles and trials. The religious Pharisees persecuted him constantly and tried to trick him into saying things that would incriminate and lead to his execution. Jesus knew that he would eventually die a cruel death for the sins of humanity, and it was “…for the joy that was set before Him [that He] endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2}. Jesus saw beyond his suffering when many sons and daughters would share in his glory forever (Hebrews 2:10). That is why he gladly faced the cross. It was for our benefit.
If we abide in him (the True Vine), then his joy will remain in us, and our joy may be fully expressed (John 15:11). Let us be grateful to God for this wonderful ‘Fruit of the Spirit’—JOY!
Gracious Father in heaven, I thank You for the gift of joy. May more and more people come to accept Your Son as their personal Saviour and to experience the joy that Your Holy Spirit desires to give.
Study by John Magowan
Grace Communion Lisburn
Ballymacbrennan School Hall
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