But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
If you have taken the opportunity to encourage someone recently, you might have noticed the side benefit: it was good for you too. So many times I get caught up in all I have to do in a day or week that I am only conquering a list. And even though there is a feeling of accomplishment as the list dwindles, there is something about joy that involves others. I think it has to do with my personality. I enjoy doing things for others–particularly when they are not expecting it.
There are times of struggle, there is no doubt about that. I don’t think we have been living life (or being honest) if we say we have embraced every painful moment and every struggle with great joy. I think true joy is rooted in Christ–abiding with Him, recalling His provisions, counting on His promises, and sharing His love by encouraging others.
As you think about joy today, remember that God’s thoughts on the subject are counter cultural. We might lose our joy because we have been inconvenienced and we can’t have it “our way” but He says we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. Check out James 1.
And what about joy stealers–unconfessed sin, shame, grudges, unresolved anger, misunderstandings, etc.? How often do these things separate us from joy? The longer we avoid dealing with these joy stealers, the longer we (and everyone around us) are miserable. If we are continually downcast, without joy, why would someone be drawn to learning more about our faith in God?
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you…have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 1:6-7 NIV
May you know the Joy of the Savior!