I've been studying the fruits of the spirit more recently and I find it so interesting that a lot of the fruits that I thought were feelings are more than that. When the feeling is lost sometimes in the midst of life we have to choose these different fruits rather than just feel whatever the roller coaster of life has thrown at us. I've also learned that as we seek God and live a life devoted to him, these are the fruits that we will produce with our life and be able to withstand life's many curve-balls.
Joy was especially interesting to me because I always thought of it in relation to happiness. I always thought that we felt joy until I went through a few storms and realized that I had to choose and find joy in the midst of everything crashing around me. The verse in James 1:2-3 became very real for me where it says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." How was I supposed to consider the trials I was going through as joy? But as I studied more and more about this and began to pray asking God to help me understand this crazy phenomenon, I realized that joy was the hope God gave me to make it through the trial. In Romans 12:12 it says, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
I could be joyful because God works in seasons and I knew the season I was in wouldn't last forever. I could be joyful because I knew my mess would become my message for someone else. I had to have joy to look past the pain into the promise. Now on the other side of that trying season I do consider it all joy because I'm so much stronger in my faith and can walk others through the same trials. I also learned that as I sought God and stood in His presence in the midst of the hurt that he would fill me with joy. In those moments alone and quiet with God everything washed away and I felt the joy that only God could give through his Holy Spirit.
In Psalm 16:11 it tells us, "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." This is such an amazing promise because it shows us by seeking God and being in his presence we can have this fruit of the spirit of joy. It also says in Nehemiah 8:10 that "the joy of the Lord is our strength" so we must be so careful not to let the enemy steal our strength by stealing our joy.
I hope you can be encouraged today to find joy in the midst of all of life's moments both good and bad. I hope you will let God strengthen you through that joy and that you will use what you learn during your hard times to help someone through there's as well.
Dead Lord, Thank you for the joy that can only come to you. Whether I'm going through a hard season or a good season right now, I know my strength and joy come from you. I know you will help me through anything I face and I know you intend good to come from what the enemy meant for harm. Thank you Lord for making me stronger through life's many ups and downs. Amen.