If you were to ask anyone the question of what they believe the world needs, the obvious and popular answer would be love. And rightfully so because that’s how God through Christ introduced Himself to us. But the second most important thing the world needs is joy. We know that there are lots of people who possess everything money could buy but live a joyless life. The scripture says “godliness with contentment is great gain.” What did Paul mean when he made that statement to Timothy? Contentment is a byproduct of joy in a person’s life. If you’re living in a state of contentment, nothing will disturb your peace-Another byproduct of joy.
There’s so much fear being spread by the government and the news media today, that if you don’t take control of what you’re allowing into your life and home, you’ll live in a constant state of joylessness. You’ll find yourself anxious and restless over things you cannot control, nor should you try. Live in the reality of the Words of Jesus to us: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world systems! He was actually saying, so have we through our relationship with Him. Satan wants to keep us in a constant state of panic. The Church has bought into his lies. Some of the most joyless people claim to know the Lord Jesus Christ. They have unmoored themselves from the Word of God and instead have chosen to believe the lies of the enemy.
How do we take our joy back? By remembering who gave you joy in the first place.“ The world didn’t give us joy, and the world can’t take it away!” We have to give it away. It came as a part of the salvation package. I know this because in Galatians 5, after Paul had listed the works of the flesh, and prior to that telling us how to avoid them, he gives us a list of what the fruit of the Spirit produces. We have become so worldview conscious, we have forgotten that resident in each of us is the Spirit of joy Himself. Remember David’s question to his soul? “Why are you cast down?” And the answer? Hope in God! Not wish, hope, another byproduct of joy. When we’re anchored to Hope, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s hard not to be filled with joy. Recalling all He’s done brings us to a place of joyfulness. It brings a smile to our faces, at least it should. Gratitude is a byproduct of joy.
The most miserable people are ungrateful and self absorbed people. Entitled spoiled brats. Gimme gimme, demanding and jealous of those who have found the real source of joy. Joy isn’t ever found in stuff. It’s found in a Person. His Name is Jesus Christ. The Son of the Only True and Living God. He is the source for the fruits of the Spirit. He has shared with us what His fruits produce in every Believer’s life. This life giving fruit has many benefits. It covers every facet of the human experience. When we choose to live in its parameters, we experience real joy and contentment. We can’t even explain it at times. But we know from partaking of its benefits that it works. This joy isn’t found in human relationships, alcohol, drugs, sex, money, fame and position, it’s not found in knowing about God or religion. It’s found in an intimate relationship and fellowship with Jesus. As believers we all possess this wealth. This wealth that there is no natural or spiritual law against. We’re encouraged to put off the old lifestyle and embrace the attributes of Christ. Paul shares with us what our new life should look like to the unsaved.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The message translation puts it this way
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.”Galatians 5:22-23 MSG
Look at the order in which the fruits are listed. Love, joy and peace. All the other fruits flow seamlessly because of those three. We live in a state of quietness and rest. Do we experience moments of sadness? Certainly. But we never lose our joy because our joy is a Person. He brings His joy to our situations. My daughter was accused of being too happy by her peers in graduate school. They claimed “no one can be that happy all the time.” They missed the real reason for her happiness. Joy. She was simply living what the scripture says: The joy of the Lord is her strength. Not happiness that is based purely on how things are going. Do you know that you can be going through hell and still have joy? Why? It’s the fruit of the Spirit who lives in you. He gives you joy when the circumstances say panic, worry and fear. We have love unending from a loving Father. What we’re lacking, or not understanding is that joy is bundled with the love and peace of Jesus in us. This enables us to live out the other six fruits of the Spirit.
The world needs to see more joy flowing from the Church of Jesus Christ. Our joy should be contagious and infectious. They won’t believe our message of hope and grace unless or until we show them why our life in Christ is the better way. Joy is the evidence of a life marked by the fruit of the Spirit. Joy doesn’t deny suffering or disappointment, it shines in the face of it, and in spite of it. It’s a lifestyle and a lifetime discipline. We grow into it. Our humanness sees it as unnatural, our new man sees it as achievable and doable. We just need to tap into heaven’s resources. The apostle Paul’s life is a good course study on joy over hardships, suffering and persecution. James tells us to count temptation, trials and testing of our faith as all joy. Let that settle in for a moment. We want to run away from those things. He said find joy or purpose in them. We’ve got a long way to go, saints of God. But it wouldn’t be written if it wasn't achievable. Joy is found in the presence of the Lord. Joy is found in obedience to His Word. Joy is found in walking in the Spirit.
So what does the world and the church need right now? Joy! His Joy. Joy that overcomes, joy that goes to the heart, joy that fills every void and responds to every hurt. Jesus is the real Joy of our salvation. David asked that His joy would be restored. We need to pray that prayer today. Lord, in the midst of this pandemic, turmoil and violence, in the midst of uncertainty and loss, Restore to us the joy of Your salvation and renew a right spirit in us. The Church needs a baptism of Your Joy Lord. We need Your joy restored to our homes, Our families and marriages. We need the Joy of Your salvation like never before Lord. David knew the value and importance of having His Joy. Ask, Jesus said, That your joy may be full. John 16. We have to replenish our joy tanks daily through communion with Him.
Life depletes our joy tank with all its cares. But as we cast our cares on Him, our joy tank is replenished. Yes we need love, but joy is pure love in action. Jesus said the disciples had not asked for anything because He was physically with them, but as with us today Jesus is not here physically, so to bring to earth what is in heaven we must ask. Ask so that your joy may find its satisfaction and fullness in Him. Are you lacking in joy? Ask. Jesus taught that abiding in Him and adhering to His Word will cause His joy to remain in us. These verses encapsulate everything I’ve shared so far in this message. May you rediscover the joy His salvation brings.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”John 15:11 NKJV
“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”John 16:22 NKJV
Go deeper: Psalm 51:12; John 16:24-26; Psalm 4:7; 16:11; 30:5; Isaiah 12:3; 61:3; John 17:13; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12-13; Hebrews 12:2;
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
January 25, 2022