The Fruit of the Spirit Series-Joy
As I mentioned in the first message of this series: to develop the Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5 verse 22, 23)) is to develop the character of Jesus. In Romans 8 verse 19 the word says ‘for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” The whole world is waiting for people to develop the character of Jesus. The Greek word for “sons” in the above verse is “huios” which means “the expression of the character of the parent.” It means that the offspring is starting to act like the parent. To have the same character as Jesus one has to develop the same fruit that was easily recognizable in Jesus. Our number one prayer should be that the Father would conform us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8 verse 29). God’s fruit must be cultivated while His gifts are bestowed by His grace. In Mark 4 verse 28, the word says the fruit grows; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Fruit is cultivated over a period of time. As a matter of fact, the purpose of His gifts is to produce fruit in us, as the power of His gifts should humble us. Also, the ones who develop all the fruit will be the ones that most manifest His power. The gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit go together.
Only God can develop the fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3 verse 5, 6). One way to cultivate His fruit is to read the epistles (Romans to Revelation) and speak the scriptures into our lives, as God directs, that help us spiritually.
This study is the second in my series on the Fruit of the Spirit and we will discuss the fruit of joy:
The three functions of the fruit of joy are:
1.) To produce victory- one can assess the degree they are in bondage by what extend trials overcome them. If one’s character or countenance changes during a trial this person could be in danger of coming into bondage to the enemy and being overcome by the enemy. On the other hand, if nobody can detect if one is going through a trial, this person is not in bondage because the trial didn’t defeat him/her. 2 Peter 2 verses 19 says that... of whom a man is overcome of the same he is in bondage. The attitude that one has to have in going through a trial is covered in 1 Peter 4 verse 12, 13: Paul said that we should not consider it strange when we go through a trial but realize that we are partakers of Christ’s suffering and when His glory is revealed we will be glad with everlasting joy. Jesus’ countenance never changed during a trial: in Hebrews 12 verse 2 the word says that Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. He saw us saved in the future as a result of what He was accomplishing and this gave Him great joy.
2.) Will produce all things needed for abundant living- James 1 verse 2-4 – there are three promises for those who endure trials with joy- They will ….1.) Be perfect 2.) Entire 3.) Lack nothing. The word says in Isaiah 12 verse 3 that with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. Salvation means completeness, fulfillment.
3.) Will break the yoke of iron off a believer’s neck- the word says in Psalm 105 verse 37, 43 that the children of Israel were led out of bondage by joy. They were delivered by joy. You too can be delivered as you let the Holy Spirit develop the force of joy in you.
To increase the fruit of joy:
1.) Build up your faith with the word-In Psalm 19 verse 8 the word says that the statutes are right rejoicing the heart…. Jesus said in John 15 verse 11 that the things He spoke unto them would make their joy full. The word of God increases our joy because it builds up our faith. Jeremiah said in Chapter 15 verse 16 that he ate God’s words and as a result there was joy and rejoicing in his heart.
2.) Give yourself to others-one can’t be self-centered and expect to have the joy of the LORD. Paul said in Philippians 2 verse 17 that he had joy because of their service to God. He also said in 1 Thess. 2 verse 19, 20 that he would rejoice if they would be in Jesus’ presence when He returned. Job received double from the LORD when he prayed for his friends who advised him incorrectly (Job 42 verse 10). You see, God can increase our joy when we take our eyes of ourselves and place them on others. James said in 5 verse 16 that a person could get healed if he/she prayed for others. Paul also said in Acts 20 verse 22-24 that even though bonds and afflictions awaited him in every city he was not and didn’t count his life as dear to himself. He only was concerned about completing his ministry to others.
3.) Seeking God’s presence-in Psalm 16 verse 11 says that in the LORD’S presence is the fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore. In Psalm 48 verse 1, 2, the psalmist says that there is joy for the whole earth in Mount Zion, the mountain of His holiness. Mount Zion is a type of His presence. Some ways to draw nearer to Him are A.) By an act of one’s will- James 4 verse 8 says that we can, by our own will draw nigh to Jesus. B.) By cleansing our hands- the word says in Isaiah 59 verse 2 that iniquities and sins can separate us from God. We need to repent and ask for forgiveness and then we can come into His presence. C.) Purify the heart- don’t be double–minded- James 4 verse 8. In Jeremiah 29 verse 13-14, the LORD says that if His people seek Him that they will find Him when they seek Him with all their heart. As a result of them seeking Him with a pure heart He says that He would turn away their captivity, gather them from all the nations where He drove them and bring them back to where they came from. The LORD can do so many miracles in our lives when we seek His presence and not His hand!
The word says in Colossians 1 verse 11 that joy can strengthen us with all might. Nehemiah says in 8 verse 10 that the joy of the LORD is our strength. The Fruit of joy is so important. You can see by this study that developing the force of joy is so important and like all the fruit of the Spirit it takes time and needs to be cultivated.