The Fruit of the Spirit is... JOY!

Not everything in life is going to make you smile. There are plenty of things to be miserable about, just flip on the tv or go onto any form of social media and you will see. It is hard to find the joy in life most days for me, if it's not one thing it's something else. Some days the feeling of depression is so hard to shake. 

But being joyful and satisfied doesn't just magically appear one day.  After all you didn't just wake up one morning and say “I think I will be miserable”. It was a trait that was practiced and learned over the course of time. In order to experience joy, you must first practice being joyful of your surroundings. 

I would like the clarify that happiness and joyfulness are not the same thing. Happiness is a feeling that is dependent on circumstance and is as finicky as the wind. It comes to us when life is going our way, when there is nothing wrong, and when we are able to live our lives easily without struggle. Happiness is a feeling and feelings are fleeting, they are here one minute and gone for the next 1,439. It is only natural to feel happy during good times. 

Joy on the other hand is an action. It does not come from living a perfect life free from suffering, sadness, or pain. It is expressing thanks to the creator that we don’t have to live under our own power or the power of this world. Joy isn’t always felt in the heart, but it is always heard in your voice.  It is not dependent on circumstance, unlike happiness, but is dependent on the LORD.  It comes from knowing that whatever we are going through has already been planned out and knowing that we are where God wants us to be. In the book of James, it tells us, 

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2&3 

The LORD gives us tests and He tells us the answer, yet most of us fail daily. Why? A lack of faith. For example, somedays, I don’t have faith that I am on the correct path, I doubt God and His plan because it doesn’t make sense to me. I overthink and try to imagine all the opportunities that I feel like I missed out on, like going to college. That was something that I had my heart set on. But that was my will, not the LORDs. 

So how can this thinking be changed? Well, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I can thank God that I am not eighty thousand dollars in debt, I can rejoice that I have already found my helpmate, I can give thanks that I already have a steady job that pays the bills. The LORD blesses us in so many ways, it is up to us to accept His blessings and show joy in response to hard times. The LORD gives us gifts to get us through those hard times, whether it's a house, a partner, or His word and it should be respected and cherished even when we are being tested. You wouldn’t throw away a brand new convertible just because it started to rain would you? No, you would simply put the top up. 


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