Always a reason to rejoice
"Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice." (v.3)
The second fruit of the Spirit
is joy. It is no mere accident that "joy" follows the first, love. Joy is a by-product of love. If you concentrate on getting joy, it will elude you. But if you concentrate on getting love, then joy will seek you out -- you will be automatically joyful.
The nine qualities of the fruit of the Spirit are not natural attributes, but supernatural ones. You cannot manufacture them -- they just appear in our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way within us. I know many Christians who find it difficult to embrace the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. They not only don't expect joy -- they don't want it. One grim Christian said to me once: "At the heart of our faith
is a Cross. This means we ought to be spending our time weeping, not laughing."Well, it is true that there is a Cross at the heart of the Christian faith, and that following Christ involves some rigorous self-denials, but it does not alter -- and cannot alter -- the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. We cannot deny that there is a good deal of suffering in Christianity, but beneath the suffering is a joy that will, if we allow it, burst upward through everything. I am bound to say that if there is no joy, there is no Christianity, for Christianity is inherent joy. The empty tomb takes away our empty gloom. We have an Easter morning in our faith, and that means there is always a reason to rejoice.
Father, I am so thankful that Your Holy Spirit applies redemption right to the roots of my being. Thus I can be glad even when I am sad. Thank You, dear Father. Amen.
For Further Study
1. How did Christ relate joy to the Cross?
2. What brings joy to His heart?