Spend a moment to try and think of things that irritate you: Buses that move over three lanes suddenly to let off people. Taxis that stop in the middle lane to see if someone wants a ride. Someone clipping their nails at church, or at a movie. Cell phones ringing during a prayer or sermon. People standing right in front of your seat during a movie and talking about where they will sit. Add your own.
Life can be very irritating…most people show it. God wants us to have the power inside to not allow circumstances to control us. Joy is a fruit that addresses this issue. Consider these questions as we look at joy:
· What is the difference between Joy and happiness?
· Give me a list of what Joy is not.
· How true is – There is Joy in serving Jesus?
· Joy Defined: Gladness, Contentment, Satisfaction
* An inward gladness not affected by outward sadness
** Interesting – this word is used most times in relation to the return of Christ.
Joy is something that everyone can sense but not put their finger on.
Joy is not a plastic smile, it is not expressed outwardly the same all the time, It is not something you conjure up or convince yourself of.
Joy is a character fruit that is produced by God. How? It’s easy, but it is hard!
John 15:1-11 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
It’s easy, because the scripture tells us exactly how to have our joy full…abiding!
Vrs 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
It’s hard, because abiding takes focus and discipline. The old nature does not want to abide. When we live close to God our new nature grows strong…the flesh hates that. It is essential to understand how joy works. Most of my life I heard this statement: “There is joy in serving Jesus”…but after many years I have found that is not true. That statement makes me focus on “serving” and the reality is that serving can be great when everyone is one in the Spirit or people are receptive. However, when serving is filled with trials or people abusing you…the emotional lift of serving will be gone.
I have found that “There is joy in Jesus!” He remains constant and is the achor to my heart no matter what the circumstances are trying to do to my emotions.
If you try to get your joy from serving you won’t last long – serving can be very hard.
But if you get your joy from Jesus that will affect your serving. You cannot fake it – people can see it in your eyes.
The Importance of Joy:
When Nehemiah and Ezra were restoring worship to Israel, they had the law read to all the people. When the people saw how far they had gone from the Lord they wept and mourned. The counsel given is very important.
Neh. 8:8-10 And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, "Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Our joy is in Him, not circumstances or even our failures. To discover sin should cause remorse and repentance, but we should also experience Joy, because our God is focused on the "moment." If we have turned from our disconnection from Him, and reconnect, His joy that flows from His grace and mercy, like the Father of the prodigal, should be our focus. The enemy desires to keep us in guilt, God desires that we move from conviction, to repentance to Joy!
Are you counting on emotions to get you through? All it takes is a change in circumstances to change your emotions. Joy in Who He is never changes, in fact it intensifies when life is most difficult!