Summary: Marriage is more about being the right mate than it is finding the right mate. The Fruit of the Spirit make you the right mate.
A FRUIT-FULL MARRIAGE: JOY-FULL LOVE *
Sermon Objective: Marriage is more about being the right mate than it is finding the right mate. The Fruit of the Spirit make you the right mate.
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.
Last week we started looking at how the Fruit of the Spirit can inform and influence our relationships; especially the marriage relationship. We noticed that love is first on the list for a reason. Love is, in many ways the foundation for all the other virtues. Some have suggested that THE fruit is love and the other virtues are expressions of that fruit. I like that. I think it has merit. I believe 1 Corinthians 13 and the “companion passage” to this one in Colossians 3 validate such an understanding.
It’s sort of like this backpack I brought with me this morning. I carry much of my basic office needs in this backpack. This includes a laptop, pen, notepad, calendar, usually a book, etc. I call the backpack my “office.” But this “office” is itself filled with items that have their own identity and unique purpose.
As we read Galatians 5:13-18, Colossians 3:12-25 and 1 Cor. 13 as preface for the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-26 we can get the same idea about “Love.” It is a backpack that deserves to be “unpacked.” It is itself valuable but is enhanced when we look at the “stuff” that goes into what we know as “love” (i.e. the individual virtues / fruits).
Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote a “poem” on the power of love as expressed through the Fruit of the Spirit:
Love is the key.
Joy is love singing.
Peace is love resting.
Long-suffering is love enduring.
Kindness is love’s touch.
Goodness is love’s character.
Faithfulness is love’s habit.
Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness.
Self-control is love holding the reins.
As I said last week, these virtues find their fullest expression in relationships. Yes, they are essential for my own personal development, but it is in relationship that they reach maturity and prove that they really work. And … if they will work in marriage and the home they will work anywhere. That’s because marriage is more about being the right mate than it is finding the right mate. The Fruit of the Spirit make you the right mate!
And today we get to explore Joy-Full Love!
What is joy?
• The KJP definition: “Joy” (chara) is closely associated with “grace” (charis) suggesting it is an imparted delight – and imparted cheerfulness. It is a glad-heartedness or a “holy optimism” that is not dependent on circumstances and is, in fact, most obvious when one is experiencing hard times (John 16:33c). It can be lost and restored (Psalm 51:8-12) and it will develop as our faith matures (James 1:4). Joy is not pie in the sky; it is not unrealistic. It comes from the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and our confidence in God … the belief that he is at work; that he is in full control; that he is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, and will happen.
But I like the way the devotional book, “Tasting the Fruit” says it:
“Joy is like the hidden note in the glass. Joy is tuning in to what God is doing around you, seeing the world through his eyes, picking up on his delight in us as his children. Anyone can find happiness for a while… Happiness depends on what is happening to you. Joy is different; joy goes deeper. Joy is when your whole being sings because you have caught a glimpse of God at work. Joy can creep up on you and surprise you in unexpected places.” Tasting the Fruit
Seriously -- Can you think of anything that can add more positive color to a life and marriage than joy?
There are four things about joy that I want you know you:
1. JOY IS CONTAGIOUS
Joy gives its recipients an “over sized heart.” It fills them with such a power for life that it cannot help but be contagious. Why? Because it comes from God. Sometimes I think of joy as “God’s candied fruit” because it gives life such an appealing flavor.
Seeing as how this is fruit from His Spirit’s presence within us … maybe we should say JOY DESCRIBES GOD.
Have you ever meditated on that? Do it. Think about it. Way too many times our concept of God is of some heavenly being who is either grieving or angry at the human race but truth be told … God is filled with joy. That’s why He can give you his joy (Nehemiah 8:10).