Faith, Reflection

Nine Fruits: Part Two – Joy

sunshineWhat does the sun, a rose, and even a certain brand of dish-washing soap have in common?

Hint: it’s a color that I often think of when there is joy!  ~YELLOW~

Joy is the second “fruit” of the Spirit. It is more than happiness, because happiness is a temporary emotion. Joy is the culmination of everlasting happiness. Joy can be present at all times, even in sorrow, because it is part of the Spirit.

I am in the midst of pursuing a life of joy. I know that when joy is received, contentment abounds. The Bible talks about having complete joy in the book of Philippians. It says in Chapter 2, verse 2, “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (NIV)

A smile and a song.

I find myself smiling a lot when I sing! The smile is an outward expression of an inward response to joy. Smiling is also contagious, so if you don’t want to sing, then smile. I love the movie Sleepless in Seattle because of the music that is played throughout the story. Some of the words in the songs just make me smile, as I know that the movie has a happy ending to a sad beginning!

Joy should be pursued.

Joy is caught more than taught, so it should be pursued. When I choose joy, I am pursuing the opportunity to have all of the other fruits of the Spirit like love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Joy is the bow on a package of love. Love is given as a gift, and it’s difficult to give someone love without also giving them joy.

Joy gives strength to the soul.

In Nehemiah 8:10, it says, “The Joy of the Lord is my strength.” When I embrace my faith in the Lord, I also embrace His joy, which strengthens my soul. Joy gives reassurance to the weary soul, by fortifying the bones and nourishing the muscles with inner strength that can only come on a spiritual level. This is why joy is different than happiness. One is spiritual while the other is merely emotional. The two virtues seem similar, but they vary greatly based on their origin.

Joy in the trials.

James says, “Count it all joy when you encounters various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” It’s difficult to find joy in the trials of life. Some trials are so big, while other trials seem trivial. Either way they exist, trials are not fun. Yet, the apostle James says to count your trials as joy. Why? Because trials produce strength! We all know the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Equation: Not dead = trial and stronger = joy. Therefore, trial = joy.) It’s a great reminder that trials produce strength, and the end product of strength is Joy.

I’m good with that. I just need that daily reminder… KEEP CALM AND JOY ON!

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