Monday, May 24, 2010

Fruits of the Spirit - Joy's all around you. From the first breath you take in the morning, to wishing upon the last star you see before you go to bed. God's perfection is in everything, ought we not to take joy in it?

What is it? What does it mean? And how do we use it? As one of the fruits of the Spirit, joy must be pretty important, but how can we recognize it? And better yet, how can we see to it that joy is continually blossoming in our hearts and lives?

Number one, you have to understand that joy is NOT happiness. For although happiness fades away in a day, joy can last a lifetime. Joy has to do with contentment. Being content in all your circumstances is the key to owning true joy.

Proverbs 12:20- “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.”
When God says, “Counselors of peace have joy”, what does that mean? To counsel means to plan, to conspire, to work together to achieve. So a counselor is someone who works toward making peace. The next logical question would be, "What is peace?" Well, in this case peace actually means completeness, soundness, and to be at peace with God and man. So God promises that if we work together to achieve complete peace with God and our fellow brothers and sisters we will have joy.
Let's take another example of joy...

John 16:21- “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.”
As a girl, I can totally relate to this. Can you imagine just how painful going into labor is? Not too long ago I went to the emergency room and on the wall was a “pain-o-meter”. The pain-o-meter was just a poster with cartoon pictures of varying levels of pain starting at 1 as the lowest and going up to 10 as the highest. Upon inquiring, I found out that level 10 of pain is for labor pains and soldiers who have had a limb blown off in battle. Do you understand what that means? When a woman goes into labor, she is experiencing just as much pain as someone who just had their arm taken off! However, she no longer remembers the pain once the child has been brought into the world. All that pain is just wiped away once she sees that baby. I've talked to my own mother about this and she said that when she went into labor with me, she remembered that it was the worst pain she had ever felt in her life, but exactly what it felt like, she could not remember. Joy is so powerful that it can make anything bearable.

Romans 15:13- “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Joy comes from contentment in the Lord. When you take the time to pray and study our Lord, He will give you joy. He will fill your heart so that no matter what your circumstances are, you will be able to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is right by your side, helping you bear your cross through everything.

(This is from the Magazine I write for called Passion.)

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