Chapter 22: Joy -- The second part of the fruit of the Spirit




    Several people in our church come to mind when I think of people who are joyful despite adverse circumstances. In addition to love, can you think of a characteristic more appealing than a person who has joy?



     In the fruit of the Spirit listing found in Galatians chapter five, right after love is the word “joy.” It seems as if Paul is saying that in addition to love the number 2 characteristic for a Christian should be joy.


    And why not? We have a God who loves us and wants a personal relationship with us. We have eternal life, and rewards in heaven waiting for us. Even when we fall into times that tempt us to fall away, Jesus’ own brother said we are to count it all joy when those trying times come. Hebrews even says Jesus endured the cross because He knew what joy awaited him afterwards.


This devotional from Zondervan is day two on virtues we Christians should possess.

KEY QUESTION:

    What gives us true happiness and contentment in life?

     God may shower us with blessings and circumstances that bring joy to our lives, but true joy is found not in those things themselves but in their source. Joy can also be fueled and found in living out God’s Word and trusting in the promises God gives us in his Word.

    I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. (Psalm 119:14)

    Jesus confirmed that two commands from the Old Testament — love God and love others — as the greatest of all the commandments during an encounter recorded in the New Testament between Jesus and the religious leaders. [See Mark 12:28–34.]

     God’s promises find their ultimate fulfillment in his Son Jesus. So when we abide in the vine of Christ through obedience to his commands, his nutrients of joy run through our spiritual veins from the inside out and produce the ripe, juicy fruit of joy in and through our lives. [See John 15:1-10.]

KEY VERSE

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)

KEY IDEA

     Despite my circumstances, I feel inner contentment and understand my purpose in life.

KEY APPLICATION:

     What difference does this make in the way I live?

     The joy of Christ will replace or reduce stress. Joy becomes a filter through which we view life. We’re not talking about rose-colored glasses, but about actually having brand-new eyes! Joy can change our perspective and our perception of negative circumstances. We aren’t simply in denial, sticking our head in the sand, but rather we choose to rise above the circumstances and adopt an eternal mind-set. Stress can come from many different factors today. We can worry and fret because we feel we’re not in control. Joy is an ongoing reminder that God is in control — that he is in charge of the outcome. Joy comes from trusting the controller of all things.

     The joy of Christ will become contagious through us.

     The joy of Christ will draw others to Christ.

YOUR TURN

What aspects of your faith give you the most joy? Join the discussion today and use the hashtag #BelieveTheStory


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