Summary: This is the second sermon in this series on the Fruit Of The Spirit.
Fruit of The Spirit – Joy
Choosing to Rejoice!
Today we continue our series on the fruit of the Spirit. Let us go ahead and read our text:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23 (NASB)
Everyone wants to be happy. If you ask people what their number one ambition in life is, most people will say, “I just want to be happy.” Just recently I watched a show on PBS about happiness. The truth is you can find happy people all over the world – but you can find unhappy people too. All of us have various ideas of what will make us happy. Most of think that if we always have good days – we will be happy. But can you be happy even on the bad days? But what makes a bad day? Here are some ideas:
IT IS A BAD DAY WHEN…
Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
It costs more to fill up your car than it did to buy it.
You take your income tax refund to the bank to deposit it and it bounces.
The bird singing outside your window is a vulture.
It may be easy to be happy when everything is going your way. But what about the rest of life? Are you happy only when everything is going your way? If so, you are going to be unhappy for much of your life.
We know that one of the fruit of Spirit is joy – because Paul just told that: “The fruit of the Spirit is…joy.” Paul also reminds that we should:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
Phil. 4:4 (NASB)
Happiness depends on happenings. It comes from the root word has, which means “circumstances”. “I am happy today because things just happened to turn out right.” But I may not be happy tomorrow because things may not be so good.
Joy is different though. It goes deeper. Joy is an attitude – it is a choice. Joy is an inside job and is not dependent on circumstances. It is your choice to rejoice. You can choose – regardless of the circumstances – to be joyful.
Joy is what makes life – enjoyable.
We Should Have Joy Because…..
1. God Has A Purpose For Our LIVES
We can rejoice because God has a purpose for our lives. In fact He has a purpose for every situation in our lives. The good stuff as well as the bad stuff.
Romans chapter eight verse twenty-eight says:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28 (NASB)
Have I told you that God is in the life change business? That is what He does. He takes a life and changes it.
That is why the Bible also says in Romans 5:3:
“We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, (brings) hope.” Rom 5:3-4 (NASB)
Whatever happens in your life is there for your good – even the bad stuff.
The Greek word translated “sufferings” here means “distress,” and it refers to anything that puts us under pressure. It is variously translated “trails,” “troubles,” “pressures,” or “problems.”
Many people have the misconception that when they get rid of their problems – when they get rid of the pressures – they will be happy. But we are never going to get rid of all our problems as long as we are alive. Don’t you find that just when you get rid of a big problem – you notice smaller problems you were unaware of while you were focusing on the big problem?
Joy is learning to enjoy life in spite of problems. Joy is not the absence of problems – but it’s realizing the presence of God in the midst of the problems. That is why Paul says we rejoice in suffering – not because of the suffering. Christians can be positive even in a negative situation because we know God has a purpose for it. We have a perspective that non-Christians do not have.
No matter what happens to us – God is ultimately in control – and He is big enough to take the bad stuff and make it work for our good.
It is a matter of perspective – isn’t it?
Maybe you have heard of the letter a college student wrote to her parents. It clearly shows how perspective influences our reactions. The letter said:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m sorry to be so long in writing. Unfortunately, all my stationary was destroyed the night our dorm was set on fire by the demonstrators. I’m out of the hospital now, and the doctors say my eyesight should return – sooner or later. The wonderfully boy, Bill, who rescued me from the fire, kindly offered to share his little apartment with me until the dorm is rebuilt. He comes from a good family, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you we’re going to be married. In fact, since you’ve always wanted a grandchild, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll be grandparents next month. I know you’d be happy with all the news.