The second fruit of the spirit is Joy. And Joy is also a choice. It’s how we can stay positive when everything’s falling apart. As Christians, we have reason to be filled with Joy because of 3 things:
1. Our hope. This is our hope in Christ and remember, “hope” in the Bible is a done deal. It’s not a wish.
2. We have joy because God has a purpose in every situation. God uses everything that happens to us, even if it’s something bad that we’ve caused ourselves, and works it for good. Joy isn’t the absence of problems, but the presence of God. We can handle trials a little easier because we know they have a purpose, even when we don’t see it at the time: hurt can make us more compassionate, which is a step toward making us more like Jesus. Our problems also make us more mature. So our joy comes in knowing. We know God is in control. There is a reason. He is sovereign.
3. We can have joy because God is always with those who believe in Him. As believers we have been reconciled to Him through Jesus. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you! Your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned. The hard trials will not hurt you.”
This is a great verse to hang on to. It tells believers that no matter what happens, God’s going to take care of us. We will not go through it alone!
Rick Warren says you have to develop your inner joy. He says if you’ll do 4 things for the next 6 weeks, you’ll be a more positive, joyful person then you’ve ever been before.
1. Develop the attitude of gratitude. Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The most grateful people are the happiest people. So start by looking for ways to express your gratitude this week. Write a note to someone, make a phone call. Thank God.
2. Cultivate inner joy by giving. Malachi 3:10 is the only place in the Bible that says we should test God on something He says and it’s about tithing. He says if we give Him the first of our efforts just see if He doesn’t overflow our barns!
3. Develop inner joy through service. Joy comes when we get our focus off ourselves and concentrate on helping others.
4. Share Christ with others
All of this is counter to our culture, which is very “me” oriented. Gratitude? Most people feel entitled. Giving and serving? Volunteering has taken a real hit. There are lots of needy organizations. It used to be that women at least volunteered, but now they are all working too. To buy more and more things. (Which keeps them busy taking care of those things!)
Sharing Christ? That wouldn’t be very politically correct nowadays would it? Everyone else can talk about his or her religion, but not Christians. (I think that’s Satan’s doing. Christians are really the only ones he’s worried about!)
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Joy Clothing and Gifts