Summary: We are all called to continually "Cultivate" the Fruit of the Spirit. Here we focus on Joy and Peace.
Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit
1. to work land or prepare soil for growing crops
4. to improve or develop something, usually by study or education
5. to develop an acquaintance or intimacy with somebody, often for personal advantage
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Love – Agape – GOD IS LOVE
We must love God’s Son, for then we know what love is, and how to show that same love.
Love must be a verb!
Today’s Focus: Joy and Peace
1. What is True Joy?
1. feelings of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind
2. a pleasurable aspect of something, or something that is seen as a source of happiness
1. to derive joy from something, or to give somebody joy (archaic or literary)
2. to delight in or enjoy something (archaic literary)
Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
The Christian definition is similar, but lacks one thing from the definition we just read:
Psalm 16:8-9 (NLT)
I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 9 No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in safety.
So you can see, True Joy is not derivative of anything other, than the Lord!
B. Joy does not mean happiness!
(Contrast to Definition)
Do you notice something when you looked at Galatians 5:22-23, or did you see something missing?
There is no mention of happiness.
Many people think that God just wants them to be happy so they will avoid difficult situations or they will run from a problem in life because the problem does not make them happy.
Happiness is not Joy. Happiness is a circumstance related emotion. When things are going well, we are happy.
How many of us are happy when difficult times hit us? How many times are you happy when things are not pleasant? You generally cannot be happy unless the circumstances are right.
Think of it in the practical terms:
- When my team loses, like they did in the playoffs, I was not happy! But I had joy that they made it that far!
- Most people go into marriage and expect happiness every morning, but then reality sets in! Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it’s not something that comes easy!
- How about work? Are you always going to be happy there? I think of one of my passions and hobbies, making film. It’s still work! It’s not always a happy time!
Too many of us put happiness over what God really wants from us. There is nothing wrong with being happy, but that should not drive our life because it is a temporary emotion, and not capable of supporting anything permanent.
God wants us to seek joy. We can have joy no matter what is going on in our lives because it is an inward peace that is not affected by circumstances.
I’m sure you’ve seen people who live life with no joy, they have marriages with no joy, and they allow life to defeat them, they have no joy in their salvation.
So instead, they chase this temporary emotion and try and fill their lives with things just as fleeting. But Our Joy must come from God.
Nehemiah 8:10 (NASB)
10Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah was trying to encourage the people reminding them that the joy of the Lord was their strength. Paul echoes the same sentiment in Philippians.
Philippians 3:1 (NASB)
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
So where are we to find Joy? In God’s Love for you. And that’s where we can go off track in seeking Joy; when it become something motivated of the flesh.
There is a little word picture we can paint with the word JOY.
J-esus O-thers Y-ourself
When we decide to get our priorities right, we will start to experience joy, joy is not centered on ourselves, it is centered on serving Jesus and then serving others.
Lindsay’s Joy Ornament Story
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where were we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory