Summary: Joy is a directive, a strong basis for the faith of a Christian and in our Christian journey we will find that joy is the opposity of happiness.
Gal 5:22, John 15:1
Joy a directive a strong basis for the faith of a Christian
And in our Christian journey we will find that Joy is the opposite of Happiness!
Well Happiness is the reaction to an action where as Joy is an action derived from God!
What do I mean....
Find money that we didn’t remember having - happy
Get a new home or a new car - happy
Find a new love - happy
Get a new job - happy
Get out of trouble or find a reprieve from a difficult situation - happy
However, if something were to transpire to cause the thing that made you happy to expire or dissolve or disappear. ....such as new home termite infested - happiness gone ....new job is terminated -- downsizing...happiness is gone. ….New love becomes a big dud --- happiness evaporated ...new car breaks down - happiness gone.
But joy - the strength provided to believers enables us in the face of adversity to endure.
Joy allows us to say in the times of trouble....I still have joy...I still have joy....after everything I have been through....I still have JOY!
Joy is the result of recognizing that God is Good even in the midst of a trial.
I want to take a survey this morning:
..1..How many of you would like to live a "Joyful life?"
..2..How many of you rate "Joy" on their top ten list of importance?
-…Now the real question, how many of you are experiencing a life of "Joy"?
Wouldn’t it be great if every day---
..we got up to face the world the sun was shining,
..the birds chirping, and we hadn’t a care in the world?
But in reality we face rainy days, the birds have gone south, and the trials of life overwhelming.
Have you been there when it feels like all the joy of your life has been drained right out of your very being? Are you there now?
The very word joy or (care-e-o) in its original language means to be "cheerful", happy, well off, glad, and joyfully rejoicing.
Paul talks about what produces that kind of "Joy" 1 Thess 2:19 "19After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!
20Yes, you are our pride and joy.
Our "Joy" needs to be focused on the very fact that we will eventually in the presence of the Lord.
I believe that most Christians desire to have "Joy" in their lives. However, I have met a few that challenge the theory that Christians are "Joyful" and they don’t even have to say a word.
ILL: Eleanor Roosevelt said, "One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
When we choose to cultivate "Joy" we reap incredible benefits.
Jesus tells us in John 15 that He wants us to be full of "Joy"
However, if you fill your life with strife, hatred, jealousy and envy you will reap the byproducts of your actions.
Every Christian has the capacity to have "Joy" within his or her lives, Gal 5 tells me that. It tells me that "Joy" is a vital part of my make-up when I become a Christian and cannot be separated from my "Christian Character."
Don’t believe me? Take a look back to verse 19 where the scriptures talk about "the works of the flesh" (plural). Read Gal 5:19-21. These are individual offenses that I can commit.
Now take a look at the "Fruit" (singular) vs.22 this concept tells me that my entire Christian package includes all these: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
These are all critical elements that build one upon the other in order to produce a well-balanced Christian. One increases the value of the other i.e.:
-Love builds upon joy and peace.
-Which produces happiness
-Long-suffering builds upon gentleness, goodness and faith.
-Which produces compassion.
-Meekness builds upon self-control.
-Which produces spiritual discretion.
The problem is that when I don’t work on developing the individual components of the "Fruit of the Spirit" I end up with a lopsided or disproportionate fruit.
ILL: When I was younger and lived in Oregon there was an old cherry tree orchard that a buddy and me loved to play in. Far into the woods I don’t think anybody remembered that this orchard still existed. Overgrown and abandoned we claimed it for our own. I remember on those warm summer days climbing to the top of those trees where the biggest, juiciest cherries grew. We would stay up there for hours hanging out in the sun and gorging ourselves one some of the tastiest cherries around. We would have a contest to see who could find the biggest cherry and also the funniest looking one. Many of the cherries we found would be deformed, growing together, lopsided, or extremely out of shape.