Summary: Looking at Christian virtue and Fruit of the Spirit - Joy.


April 19, 2015

Well, I’m blowing up this balloon for a reason. In a moment, I’m going to ask Jeff to turn off the sound, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get some of this hot air out of me, and will be too out of breath to preach too long! NOT!

Blow up balloon!

This balloon represents the joy in our lives. The bigger and bigger it gets, the more joy we have. But the real question is this really joy, or is it happiness masked as joy. Because eventually this balloon will burst . . . (POP balloon).

When that balloon bursts, will there be another one already in place, or will we lose our joy . . . ah, but remember it’s not joy you lost, it was happiness you lost.

I’ve said this before . . .

We need to remember there is a difference between joy and happiness. They are not the same. I am not happy when it is 100º and 95% humidity and I need to cut the grass. That doesn’t make me happy. I lose my happiness when my coffee is no longer piping hot and my chocolate is gone. Happiness comes and goes. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances. Happiness doesn’t help us through the difficult times of life. We will always find moments of happiness during a tough time, but that happiness will not last.

Joy is totally different. True joy is a gift from God. Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace and presence, when we know we’ve experienced God’s love and forgiveness in our lives. Joys comes when we have a relationship with God. It is available to every person who proclaims faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Think about the difference between joy and happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind. Joy is a mind-set / or you can say condition of your heart.

Happiness is temporary. Joy in the Lord is a constant.

Happiness is dependent on what’s happening now. Joy is not dependent on circumstances.

We can be joyful regardless of circumstances.

When I was a chaplain at a rehab hospital there was a patient named Beanie. That was really her name. She came in with an above the knee amputation. She had a great attitude about it. She was not grieving, she was thrilled to be alive. She was a faithful follower of Jesus. She always encouraged me and others when she spoke.

A couple of years later, I saw her name listed as a patient once again. Sure enough, she had her other leg amputated above the knee. I went in to see her and she smiled and first thing out of her mouth was “Oh, God is good!” WOE! You just had your second leg amputated!? She was still thrilled to be alive. Even though she would never walk again, she didn’t care. God was still good. Beanie had joy!

For every patient we had staff meetings. The therapists, myself, the doctors, social workers, and neuro-psychologists would meet to discuss the patient’s progress. During the meeting about Beanie, the neuro-psychologist said Beanie wasn’t handling her amputation very well. She was in denial. She should have been depressed, as she felt the negative effects of the amputation. I chimed in and said ‘she was fine. Her faith is what was leading her to feel upbeat and joyful.’

You see, joy is all about connection. Actually, each fruit of the Spirit is about connection. In John 15, listen to the words of Jesus . . .

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.

6 If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

You see, the connection point is the fact that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We must be connected to the source of life. That is Jesus, that is the vine. If we abide in Jesus, we will bear much fruit. That comes in many different ways. We will make a difference in a positive manner because of Jesus, plus we will have the various fruits of the Spirit at our disposal if we wish to accept them.

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