VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume 1, Winter 2015 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC.
The Fruit of Joy
by Laura Frohmader
“The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control.” Galatians 5:22-23
What is joy? Is it just an emotion? Do we always feel joyful? Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We receive our joy from God. Just as fruit on a tree has various seasons, so too, fruits of the Holy Spirit may have their seasons. We may not always feel joyful, but emotions are deceptive. We can experience joy even in our darkest moments because we know we belong to God. He is with us always. He is our joy. Sometimes He brings us to and through turmoil to strengthen our faith and use us to encourage others going through the same trials. We can still cling to joy because we know the ending… eternal life in heaven where all the difficulties of earthly life no longer exist. The joy of the Lord we experience in our hearts is not dependent on how we feel at the moment. It is from God, to help us through our life. It is the joy of knowing God lives in us and He has a plan for us.
He tells us that His joy is our strength, not some emotion that comes from the things we experience in life. In Nehemiah 8:10 we read, “Then he said to them, ‘Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.’” Lean on that stronghold of God, not the things of this world. He tells us, “For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) That “morning” may not come until we reach heaven, but it will come. Some “nights” of weeping may go on for years. Lean on God; wait for Him to give you joy in the morning.
How often do we hold on to the bitter things, pushing God away? He wants us to experience joy. Some things stand in the way of joy. We need to let go of those things. Joy comes when we forgive others as well as rejoice in our own forgiveness. There is a burden that is lifted when we let go of past hurts. Forgive others, and move on with life. This is hard, but with God’s help it is possible and imperative. After teaching his disciples the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV). It is harsh to my heart to read that God will not forgive me if I do not forgive others. Stop and think about that. Many of us are guilty of holding onto the hurt of being wronged. There have been times when I realized that I have not forgiven someone for something done to me years ago. What joy I felt when I was able to let go of that wrong and move on. King David felt joy after being forgiven by God for his adultery with Bathsheba. He wrote about this in Psalm 51. Verse 8 tells us, “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice.” Verse 12 also speaks of joy, “Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.”
David speaks again of such things in Psalm 32. “How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is the man the Lord does not charge with sin and in whose spirit is no deceit! When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat. Selah.” (Psalm 32:1-4) It hurts us physically when we suffer the guilt of sin.
Though it cost Him everything, Jesus chose to suffer the guilt of our sins considering it joy to redeem us. “Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus told His disciples that He loved them and encouraged them to remain in His love. “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.” (John 15:9). Then He explained, “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) This joy is not an emotion on a whim from this world. It is a fruit we receive when the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. What does it mean that our joy will be complete? Jesus also told his disciples they would grieve His death, but rejoice in His resurrection. Then they would understand what Jesus’ true mission was. Their joy would be complete. “I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy. In that day you will not ask Me anything. I assure you: Anything you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16:20-24) Our joy is complete because we rejoice in the forgiveness Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection.
Joy is a fruit God gives us, requiring a harvest from us. God’s joy is seen throughout the Psalms. “You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.” (Psalm 16:11) “You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” (Psalm 30:11) “Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.” (Psalm 126:5) One of the most beautiful passages reminds us that we ‘rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy:’ “You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9)
How should we respond to the joy He gives us? We rejoice! “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) Paul not only tells us to rejoice, but for emphasis he repeats it. When should we rejoice? “Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Why should we rejoice? “… rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20b) Yes! Our names are written in heaven. This brings me great joy.
Another beautiful reminder from Scripture comes from Isaiah 35:1-10 (especially verses 8-10):
“The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees! Say to the cowardly: ‘Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; He will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the parched ground will become a pool of water, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs, there will be grass, reeds, and papyrus. A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Even the fool will not go astray. There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, and the redeemed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.”
All Bible quotes are from the Holmen Christian Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.
May this article bless you and the Holy Spirit speak to you of His Truth.
© 2015 Laura Frohmader
Tuesday, December 29, 2015, Penny at penny.ojeda@***.com said:
Wow, Laura, you used the Word expressing the joy of the Lord. I actually received the joy of the Lord in reading this. Thank You!
Wednesday Dec. 23, 2105, Maren at maren8490@***.com said:
Just wanted to say thank you to Laura for the wonderful article.