This morning as I was thinking about our last blog on joy I began to wonder what it would be. I was doing my morning devotions and of course the fruits of the Spirit was the topic. God is good all the time.
This is our last blog on joy. That doesn’t mean we go on to something else and forget about joy. We just add to it. We are loving and we are adding joy to our lives. It will be interesting to see where we are headed next.
As the devotion reminded me joy comes from God, but like all good gifts from God we can choose to use the gift or we can choose to bury the gift just like the man who buried the talent he was to keep for his master found in the story in Matthew 25.
We’ve also learned this month joy does not come from things or circumstances. Joy is something we experience as we draw closer to God. It is more about a relationship that brings us joy in the midst of everyday living.”The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. Because we are human we are influenced daily by those around us or our circumstances. We can’t often get the joy right. God is amazing he provides for all our needs so we use his strength to get the joy right. If when we wake up the first thing of a morning and before we jump out of bed if we would just pause and think about all the good things God has done for us, if we just stop and think about God sending his only Son to die for us, then how can we not be joyful people?
I have seen people on a daily basis that has lost their joy. They look at their circumstances and they see nothing to be joyful about. Some do not have a relationship with my God, while others may have a relationship with God Satan has come along and stole their joy. We offer prayer for all peoples who come through our door. Many after being prayed with leave with a smile and new found joy in their heart.“A thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I come to give life that is full and good.” (John 10:10) Satan is a thief who comes and steals our joy. If we aren’t joyful because of what God is doing, has done, or will do then we have turned our eyes off of God and they are turned where Satan wants them to be; often times it is our situation or those people who are around us that Satan works through to steal our joy. It is when we keep our focus on God and all he has done for us that we can find pure joy in our hearts regardless of our circumstances. Satan has tried and at times been successful at stealing my joy this month. As I looked back to see what was going on I soon realized Satan was stealing my joy. I had to refocus my thoughts on God and all he has done for me. I know I am human and Satan will come along and challenge me again and I may not be a joyful person but I will try to remember the joy of the Lord is my strength. Notice I didn’t say lose my joy. See when God gives us gifts he never takes them back or takes them away from us. We just don’t use them. Once God gives us a gift it is our to keep. We either use it or lose it, but it is not taken from us.
As we finish up let’s reflect back for just a minute. God gives us the gift of love. God loves us unconditionally. God calls us to love unconditionally. We are to use that gift wisely, but also love others like Christ loves us. Once we feel the love, God gives us the gift of joy that comes from the heart. It can’t be taken away or given back; it is ours to be used daily. God gives us love and through that love he brings us joy The fruits of the Spirit build on each other. An apple is good by itself, but you add a fruit to it and it makes it a little better. Can you imagine how much better life would be if you added each fruit of the Spirit to your life? That is what we are doing. By the end of September we ought to have one delicious fruit salad and our lives will be fruitful just as God intended them to be.
I challenge you in the next week or so to count how many times you are joyful. In a journal write what brings you the most joy; was it from God or from your circumstances or from those around you. Was it lasting or did your joy flee after awhile? The joy that came from Christ did it leave you are did it last?
Love joy, and then let’s add….
Dear God: I thank you for all you have done for me. You’ve taught me about loving you and loving others. You have shown me what real love looks like and through that love you have given me joy; joy that only you can give. I wasn’t sure in the beginning why or how you chose love to start with, but I see now it’s like building a foundation. You start with a good foundation and then build on that. Love is our foundation and you are building on that with us. Be with us as we continue to build a temple for you and as we add to our fruits of the Spirit. Amen