Summary: 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."
Gal 5:22, John 15:1ff
Last week we started our series "Developing Character" (PP#1) and tackled the issue of "Obedience" to God. If you remember I said that outside of obedience to God you are settling for second best in your life. We looked at three areas of obedience: Recap.
-Obedience brings forth Self-examination.
-Obedience brings forth blessings.
-Disobedience brings forth consequences.
Listen folks we have to make sure that we don’t fall into the same scenario as this young girl.
It’s not enough to hear and know what God wants from us, we have to get up, be obedient, and "Jut Do IT" (our slogan this year).
And now this week we are going to look into an area that Christians seem to modulate in and that’s "Developing Joy" (PP#2).
I want to take a survey this morning:
-How many of you would like to live a "Joyful life?"
-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 that 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.
Many times we struggle to find any kind of joy in our lives. 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?
Look at this poor fellow he was having a great day and then lost everything.
Video Clip: Monsters Inc. code 2319 (where the sock is found on the back off one of the scarer’s).
His hair will eventually grow back, but I do think that his pride will take a little longer.
ILL: C. S. Lewis said, Do not let your happiness (Joy modify) depend on something you may lose... only [upon] the Beloved who will never pass away.
If you have your bibles with you this morning turn to Gal 5:22 and lets define this component called "Joy". Read the nine elements of the "Fruit of the Spirit" and single out "Joy".
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 "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"
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 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.