The absence of JOY breeds a broken dry Spirit in man’s heart. The indwelling presence of JOY brings eternal robust spiritual health and revival to a thirsty heart!
Did you know there are over one hundred scripture verses that have the word JOY in them? This impressive figure does not even begin to take into consideration any closely related words such as joyful, rejoice, and joyfulness. The godly fruit of JOY is a major spiritual milestone in a believer’s walk in fellowship with God. JOY is always flourishing in an alive and spiritual fertile heart.
Possessing Joy for the believer is truly so important God gives every man an opportunity for a solid spiritual foundation with many prospects encouraging growth and accumulation of this holy and distinguishing characteristic. God’s desire is that JOY permeates the believer’s walk brightly overpowering difficulty, sadness, or affliction in our circumstances serving to illuminating or attracting others who desire to have this attractive spiritual delight on board their own heart. Having JOY in any circumstance always stands out in stark contrast to the misery of darkness and hopelessness spewing forth from those operating in the desperate clutches of darkness from the god of this dark world.
I am sure many of us have sang “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy down in my heart…” a time or two at church camp or in a children’s group in our youth! Did you really belt this catchy jingle out with a working understanding of the JOY of the Lord as you sang in your limited life experience at a young age? The Bible tells us that JOY comes from possessing salvation of the Lord and having a personal relationship with Him. The truth is JOY is planted in our heart at salvation but often becomes more pronounced with greater spiritual maturity or age rather than fully blossoming at the onset of the follies of our youth. As mankind ages both physically and spiritually, the challenges of life on this earth cultivate its growth fostering greater spiritual development in the quickened man’s heart.
However, many professing and seemingly mature Christians continue to sojourn in this world being all puckered up and spiritually sour, making lemonade rather than generating a sweet bountiful harvest of godly spiritual fruit. Life has thrown lemons and they have chosen to serve up lemonade by casting their eyes away from the things of God and dwelling upon the hopelessness of things generated in this world. Looking to find answers to bitter situations in their life from the god of this world rather than life’s instruction book inspired by God in His Word.
The truth is salvation laced with sourness should only be a temporary or fleeting response, as we battle daily against our natural fleshly reactions in challenging situations, rather than an indwelling characteristic taking root and settling in as a natural reaction spewing forth in a saved person’s heart. Sourness cultivated in this world is in glaring opposition to the JOY of the Lord which should reside in the confines of a quickened heart.
Often God’s own people become stagnant or spiritually ill allowing their supernatural JOY to stagnate and sour somewhere between their youth and the onset of maturity in adulthood, similar to the biblical narrative of the Prodigal Son. Maybe an individual has failed to practice good communication through prayer and remain dwelling close and personal with God, therefore lacking spiritual resilience. Those who are spiritually weak will never function or blossom into a healthy spiritual mature heart taking on a fullness of God’s Spirit and be adorned with His fruitful qualities flowing freely in their heart, but rather allow the gathering of tumbleweeds, thorns, and thickets between them and a robust and vigorous relationship with God enjoying daily fellowship with Him taking the “zap” out of their JOY.
A hearty and robust relationship with God always maintains a heaping portion of JOY despite circumstances swirling about. This is a cold hard fact illustrating what sets JOY apart from possessing happiness. Happiness is always readily available for any person in this world. Happiness can be found without the indwelling presence of God, but it is dependent or hinged upon one’s circumstances. Many steer their lives towards garnering happiness rather than pursuing JOY which is only found in a harvest of godliness and righteousness in the middle of a personal relationship with God. The eternally solidified backbone of JOY comes from a thriving personal relationship with God. Happiness, on the other hand, is fleeting; gone with the commencement of a dark and contrary wind which erupts the circumstances about us. JOY is an eternally lasting, magnetic, and vibrant. A characteristic only found in having a personal relationship with God, not aligned with any events tethered to the darkness of the god of this world.
The fruit of JOY builds up others despite events happening in their life while grief and despair work to build walls and break down the lives of others. JOY brings spiritual contentment and growth while discouragement and despair brings darkness and gloom, a detriment to anything of a spiritual nature taking root in the heart of mankind.
There is JOY in salvation, soul winning, blessings, possessing the Truth, trials and afflictions, godly music, JOY in giving, in supernatural peace with our enemies, in following God’s laws, in death as a widow, family, or friend, in struggles and skirmishes, the truth is JOY can be found by the man of God in ANY situation. The man of God can be found flourishing in this naturally dark and dreary world.
The prophet Nehemiah understood that in times of afflictions and trouble the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV) As we rejoice in the midst of any circumstance there is a supernatural strength working within us which does not originate or exist in the natural man. This strength is of the Lord and cannot be mustered up or released to work in our lives in any other fashion than being cloaked in the supernatural power of God only found in possessing a personal relationship with Him.
It may appear as though the god of this world has uncovered the secret to JOY and lasting satisfaction operating in his dark arsenal of spiritual bandits who are busy at work in this world. What the devil has uncovered and made to look so promising is temporary happiness and pleasure based upon the temporal things of this world. His dark brand of amusement is reliant upon having earthly treasures which can suddenly vanish; not upon possessing heavenly gems with an eternal lasting value.
Job’s friend Zophor got one thing right in his self-righteous blasting aimed straight at the heart of Job saying:
The pious discourse with Job about wicked dark men of this world triumphing but being naturally short lived revealed that Zophar understood the fact that hypocrites are only jubilant for a brief time because their brand of happiness is of a temporary fashion, but the JOY that comes from God is forever enduring.
However, Zophar and his two friends applied other truths of God into Job’s life, in error, placing blame on Job for the dismal circumstances at hand rather than placing appropriate blame at the feet of the god of this world. Outward circumstances can be deceiving and only God fully understands the spiritual heart condition inside the heart of man. This is precisely why we must look only to God for direction, counsel, and understanding rather than being led into the wilderness by what we can see with our eyes and feel with our untrustworthy emotions in this world. Job’s three friends famous discourse was meant with good intentions, but none of them were able to be purveyors of lasting JOY which only comes from God. Job was hanging on by a spiritual thread to the promises of God in his life learning to be content with circumstances at hand as he continued to praise and find JOY in the things of God which dwelled inside his heart, despite the unhelpful interference of his friends.
The Bible tells us that the presence of God working in utter devoid or barren conditions of life always bring JOY to those who have God residing in their heart:
Fullness of JOY relies upon solely a personal relationship with God. The Christian is unequivocally assured of both JOY in this present age with the complete or fullness of JOY to come in the eternal realm. Today we have but a taste of the JOY that will envelope us in the eternal realm. This present taste serves to make us eager and filled with spiritual zeal for the full dose of JOY yet to come. It is like receiving a generous down payment now with a generous helping or balloon distribution to come in the eternal realm.
The Bible promises “but joy cometh in the morning…” (Psalm 30:5 KJV)
Yes, sometimes the JOY of God can be temporarily stifled or muted in our heart. David prayerfully pleaded with God to restore the JOY of his salvation.
David was in the clutches of a dry spiritual season due to allowing prevalent or besetting sins to creep into his life becoming a barrier and choking fellowship and close spiritual communication with God. God never pulls the plug or spiritual connection with us in this New Testament Age of Grace, but His lifeline of fellowship and prayer can become clogged or congested due to the presence of sin in our life. Sin can muffle or quiet the JOY of our salvation but never terminate the presence of God from living inside our heart. He frequently takes aim poking and prodding at our conscious giving direction, establishing waypoints, and illuminating our pathway but at times we choose to hit the “mute” button in life tuning out His holy direction for a dry spiritual season.
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament would enter in to and exit from hearts according to God’s timing and will. This coming and going of the Spirit of God introduced and removed God’s essence or the fruit of His Spirit including the fruit of JOY. Today the Holy Spirit of God eternally rests in a spiritually quickened alive heart continuing His holy work until the day man is ushered into the heavenly realm or Jesus Christ returns to this earth to bring His own spiritual family in to the eternal realm forevermore.
It often seems in this world that man is continually confronted with evil and darkness and confronted with adverse conditions making it seem as if the battle with evil has been lost and the god of this world will prevail but God’s Word promises that man will reap what he sows. Those who choose to faithfully sow His Truth, even while in the midst of turmoil, affliction, and tears will enjoy a yield of JOY according to the perfect timing and way of God as His promises are sure and you can count on reaping a harvest, according to that which you have sown.
Only those who choose to live foolishly will revel in their sin rather than walking in obedient fellowship with God. This kind of lifestyle may seem joyful for a season but a life of sin will never lead to the JOY of the Lord but rather directs man to live in hopeless and helpless circumstances existing without the presence and personal fellowship with God in their life. Yes the devil always has an alternate pathway or counterfeit agenda to entice the foolish man away from having close fellowship with God. The devil pretends to trump or offer above the righteousness and perfection of God but only folly is what the devil has in his agenda; serving up a heaping helping of reckless abandon rather than offering the sweet taste of the righteousness and holiness of God.
JOY can be passed down to family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers through imparting or sowing the seed of the righteousness and saving knowledge of God to the next generation as our paths divinely pass or intersect other souls in this world. A child who lives wisely according to the commandments and statutes of God brings great rejoicing to God, their earthly parents, and others according to their wise spiritual living but living recklessly and with abandonment to the things of God bring only misery, suffering, and hopelessness in this world.
JOY is dependent only upon God and nothing of this world. It is based solely upon the eternal things of God. That is why JOY lasts forever in spite of any circumstance or event happening in this world. There is a continual stream or live flow of living water bringing God’s righteous in a spiritual bath of salvation in a positional standing in Christ along with a daily fellowship with Him for whosoever drinks of this precious lifesaving water by exercising their personal faith in God. The Bible confirms in many passages that JOY from God is everlasting “and your joy no man taketh from you…” (John 16:22 KJV).
Not only does God give His people salvation, lasting joy, but He adorns them in all spiritual loveliness. In the Old Testament the Bible says God trades in our natural ugliness for His eternal beauty “to give unto them beauty for ashes…” Mankind is born naturally ugly and worthy of no respect. Man is especially undeserving to receive a personal spiritual makeover by God. His eternal beauty, applied to our life in a personal relationship with Him, is both an outward shine and an inward polish bringing spiritual refinement that will never fade out or will wash away. It is a spiritual attractiveness given straight from the loving hands of God which begins at once to produce a harvest of fruit of the spirit, including JOY, which wells up bursting forth God’s beauty from His Spirit resting within their heart.
“Enter thou into the joy of thy lord…” Is referencing the very moment man enters into God’s eternal realm at the instant of succumbing to his physical death. In Heaven man’s JOY will be complete and perfect, lacking nothing. The JOY residing in man’s soul will meld perfectly together with God in a perfect relationship with Him.
We know for sure that Heaven is filled with an abundance of JOY. Great JOY erupts forth each and every time a sinner is spiritually quickened alive unto salvation on this earth and an especially joyful celebration erupts among the angels in the heavenly realm according to scripture recorded in Luke 15:7. The JOY found in heaven will be much greater than any spiritual delight we will ever experience as we sojourn upon this earth.
The Bible tells us we will have access to all His fruits of His essence including:
The fruits imparted into our heart at the moment of salvation by God will remain alive inside us as we sojourn on this earth and last forever.
Jesus was not cast down, defeated, overcome with great sadness, or angry at going to the cross for you and me. The Bible tells us He was overcome with JOY to be chosen to bear our sin and be used of God in this spiritually spectacular manner. His reward was equally impressive as He sits on the right hand of God at His throne in heaven. You and I will also be rewarded in the heavenly realm for allowing God to use our lives according to His will as we sojourn in this world.
Jesus had great JOY in fulfilling the will of His Father and so should you and me as we live for Him in this world “ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory…” 1st Peter 1:8
This verse highlights a time in history that seemed, when looking through the eyes of lost people in this world, that all hope was lost as the dark days of judgement were in full swing and people became desperate and hopeless without having sufficient supplies for their physical needs.
Like Habakkuk we can determine to face insurmountable sadness, hard times, and pressing labor with our eyes pasted upon the goodness of God as we work for Him in this dark and wicked world always allowing His JOY to shine forth as a ray of light and hope as we rest in His goodness and providence which will never fade away. This steadfastness allows others to see authentic spiritual JOY bursting forth at the seams in our life causing them to desire to have it working in their own dead and empty lives too.
Are you shining brightly amid the evil and darkness flourishing without bounds in this world? This whole-heartedly illustrates the goodness and mercy of God alive and blossoming in your quickened heart painting a bright picture of eternal hope for many dead souls who exist spiritually thirsty and dry in this harsh world?
Please enjoy reading the first devotion in this Fruit of the Spirit series LOVE is ….. All of God