The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Most of us can probably name at least one person in our lives who we wish we could be more like. Not in a “I wish I had her hair” kind of way, but in a “Wow, they are really like Jesus” kind of way. God has blessed me with a lot of those people, and sometimes it’s just downright overwhelming the giant leaps I still have to travel to get closer to Him and develop those strengths in my own life. One of these friends just exudes joy. No matter the circumstances, no matter the stress, no matter how tough it gets or how long the road is. She. Is. Joyful. #lifegoals
1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to “always be joyful, never stop praying, be thankful in all circumstances” because that is the will of God for our lives. Man, that’s a tough pill to swallow, though. I lose my joy constantly, and not just in the giant, life-altering scenarios. I lose my joy when I don’t get to drink a full cup of coffee in the morning or when I’m running late for work or when my two-year-old doesn’t want to go to sleep.
So how do we have joy? First, it’s important to define what joy is. Joy is not happiness. It’s not an ever-changing state of mind that sways with the circumstances. It stands in spite of the circumstances because joy isn’t affected by what’s on the outside, by what’s happening in the world around us. Joy stems from the pure, unconditional love that our heavenly Father lavishes on us so freely. Joy stems from a Spirit-led life. Joy stems from faith in the One who created us. And certainly, joy stems from the knowledge that He has already fought all of our battles and He won!
You know that verse about denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily? It’s found in Luke 9:23, and Jesus is communicating to His followers the way to have true joy in your life, by surrendering to the will of God. His will? It’s to “always be joyful, never stop praying, be thankful in all circumstances.”
Denying ourselves looks like many things, including not playing the comparison game, living generously and being intentional in spreading the love of God to others. That brings us joy, and that, my friends, is a fruit from the Spirit that we should all crave!
Much like my joyful friend, my daughter showed me a glimpse of God’s will for His children this past week. She was running along the shoreline, darting in and out of shallow waves, laughing without a care in the world. At one point, she lost her balance and immediately reached her hands up knowing that I would be there to pick her up out of the water, smiling broadly as soon as I did. See, she knows I am there for her without a doubt. She lives a joyful life, not one of fear, because she is loved wholeheartedly by someone who will always lift her up. That is how our heavenly Father wants us to live: always joyful, always praying, always thankful because His plans are better than ours and they are plans to prosper, not to harm; to give us a hope and a future!
Share this with a friend today, and let us know how we can pray for you.