Christian Character Development

The Fruit of Joy

'The fruit of the spirit is love, JOY...' (Galatians 5:22).

1. God is full of Joy :
'The kingdom of God is ... JOY in the Holy Spirit' (Rom 14:17).
'He who sits in the heavens shall laugh' (Psalm 2:4).
If we tune into heaven we will hear the joy of the Lord. Joy and praise permeate the atmosphere of Heaven.
'In Your presence is fullness of JOY' (Psa 16:11).
The river of life (God's overflow) includes JOY:
'There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God' (Psa 46:4)

2. We have the joy of the Lord within us.
'The JOY of the LORD is your strength.'
Our new man (spirit) is made in His image and is full of His joy (Gal 5:22).
The Christ-life planted in our spirit in the new-birth is full of joy.
Jesus said: 'My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full' (John 15:11), and 'they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves' (17:13). Joy is part of our eternal salvation (Isa 35:10; 61:1-3,10). Joy is designed to issue forth out of our inner being like a river of living water: 'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water' (John 7:38).

3. 'The JOY of the LORD is your strength' (Neh 8:10).
JOY is mentioned next after LOVE (Gal 5:22,23). This indicates its fundamental importance.

'With JOY (rejoicing) you will draw water from the wells of salvation' (Isaiah 12:3). We have a well within us, full of the waters of life (all the fruit of the Spirit), which we draw upon by rejoicing in the Lord. Joy is the key to bringing forth the fruit. Without joy the other fruit will not operate properly.
Joy is a dynamic spiritual force that gives strength to us, and to the other fruit. It is the thrust behind your love and faith. It keeps us from falling into discouragement.

Each force (fruit) has a special function - joy brings strength to our emotions, mind, body, and life. Joy springs up from within our hearts whereas happiness depends on surroundings and circumstances.

The joy of the Lord is always there, because it is His joy in us, giving us strength whatever is going on around us, causing negativity to fall off of us and bringing forth the beauty of our personality.

Joy is the character of Christ in us.
'Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (=JOY)' (Eph 6:10).

'He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might (=JOY) through His Spirit in the inner man' (Eph 3:16).

I pray: 'that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; STRENGTHENED - with all might according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering - WITH JOY' (Col 1:9-11)

4. Joy is released through praise and thanksgiving. Joy is in our inner man and we release it into our lives by giving thanks and praising God.

'Therefore (1) my heart rejoiced,
and (2) my tongue was glad;
moreover (3) my flesh also will rest in hope' (Acts2:26).
The joy in our heart must be expressed through our speech, then it brings strength to our flesh.

'A man has joy by the answer of his mouth' (Prov 15:23).
If our mouth answers positively to God, joy is the result.

'Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise' (Psalm 100:4). When we enter His Presence with thanksgiving and praise we enter into joy and His joy enters into us. When we enter through His GATES He comes through the GATES of our heart and fills us with strength. When we rejoice in God, strength (joy) comes into our life.

We should SHOUT FOR JOY (Psa 5:11),
SING FOR JOY (Psa 67:4),
have a VOICE OF JOY (Psa 42:4)
MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE (Psa 66:1).

5. We rejoice IN OUR SALVATION (Psa 20:5).
If we rejoice only in our success, then we will be up and down according to success and failure.

Jesus said: 'Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you,
but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven' (Luke 10:19,20).

Happiness is temporal (of this life). Joy is eternal (of God) and is independent of circumstances. If our eyes are on this life then our state is up and down, driven by our fortunes. But if our eyes are on eternity we can live in the joy of the Lord whatever happens.

'Rejoice in the Lord always (in good and in bad times). Again I will say, rejoice!' (Phil 4:4)
The Philippians knew Paul practiced what he preached (Acts 16:22-26). He praised God in the midnight hour in the Philippian Jail when all was darkest and God gave a supernatural deliverance. If you rejoice in your midnight you will also see God work.

6. We must REJOICE in times of TRIAL.
The most important time to rejoice is when you least feel like it!
Under pressure and trial you need STRENGTH = JOY to sustain you.
You must enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise. The gates of your inner man open and out flows a fountain, river of joy which is your strength.
This is what you need to overcome in a trial. Thus we glory in our tribulations for with joy (rejoicing) we draw waters (JOY+) from the well of salvation, enabling us to stand strong.

'Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labour of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
t hough the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls -Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills' (Hab 3:17-19). This is where many fall (see the Parable of the Sower).

James 1 tells us how to handle trials.
The first thing is to rejoice: 'My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience' (v2,3, also 9-11). Joy strengthens us to stand and enables us to develop endurance, an essential part of our character.

Then we should ask for wisdom to know what to do (v5).
'We rejoice in hope of the glory of God,
and not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope' (Romans 5:2-4).

'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2Cor 12:9,10).

'In this (SALVATION, see v3-5) you greatly rejoice (though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials)
so that the genuineness of your faith ...may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls' (1Peter 1:3-9).
We rejoice that He is working this trial for our good - the ongoing salvation of our souls (our character becoming more Christ-like).

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