But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23
Happy Monday, friends! Today I am continuing the Fruit of the Spirit Series, and focusing on joy. Throughout the Bible there are many verses that speak of having joy. However, being joyful is not always easy. Of course when things are going great it is easy to rejoice, but when circumstances are not what you want them to be that command can be hard to obey.
Philippians 4:4 states, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Note, that this verse does not tell us to only be joyful in the good times but to be joyful always no matter what comes our way. All of us have been through seasons where certain struggles tempt us to be less joyful than others. In my own life recently I have had some health problems, and some days I do not feel like having joy in the midst of them. Other examples could be struggling to find joy in your singleness, the mundane of your job, your marriage, etc. Thankfully, we have the word of God that leads, guides, and helps us to find the joy of Christ each and every day in these and any other situations we may face.
An excellent example in Scripture of a person who displayed joy in good times and in difficult ones was Paul. Paul experienced many hardships and sufferings while following Christ, and Scripture tells us that he dealt with a “thorn in the flesh,” but through it all he remained joyful. Paul tells the secret to this joy and contentment in a letter he wrote to the church of Philippi. Philippians 4:11-13 states, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” With Christ, we can endure anything because of His strength that promises to sustain us through whatever comes.
No matter what is going on in and around you, you can still have joy even in the worst of times. That is when Christ can shine the most. It is easy to get caught up in what we want, and be selfish. It is also easy to think that a joyful life is defined by a series of good moments and fulfilled desires. However, life is really defined by the work Jesus Christ is doing in you, and how He allows the “not so good moments” to mature you.
I want to encourage you today to not let your circumstances steal your joy. Be thankful for what God has given you. Spend time reading His word daily and ask him to give you His never-ending joy, and follow His command to rejoice always! If you do this, the weight of your worries will lessen, and life will suddenly seem brighter. Be encouraged that in his presence their is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11), and remember that God works out ALL things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). I am praying for you today as you put into practice this fruit of the spirit and embrace the joy Christ has for you. I ask that you pray the same for me.