We are all looking for happiness. If you look up the word happy or joy you’ll come up with millions of articles with tips and tricks to find joy.
I was pregnant with my 2nd child. The thing about my pregnancies that I often forgot is how sick I got during the 9 month pregnancy. I would vomit all day, every day and with the second I didn’t just vomit but I felt nauseous all day. I was absolutely miserable.
I remember one day just laying on the couch watching my 2-year-old playing and at one point he turned around and said, “It’s okay mommy. You’ll feel better.” I felt bad I didn’t have the energy to be myself for him but thankfully he was my easy-going and compassionate child so we survived.
I tried many things throughout the day to get my mind off the sickness and often I succeeded but sometimes it was consuming. One day I was sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself and sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Out of nowhere the song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Down in my heart…” popped into my head and I cried out to God, “Please help me! I have no strength and I feel miserable.” This joy is supposed to be in my heart but I don’t feel it. I feel everything but joy.
Somewhere along the way I got confused and believed it was MY job to come up with this joy that surpassed the trial and circumstances I found myself in. Sometimes it worked but more often than not it was short-lived. As I heard that song I was reminded–this joy is already in me. It’s in my heart.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy
Today I want to share with you where joy can be found. Often we miss going here. We go looking for joy within ourselves but that leaves us lacking. We go looking for it outside ourselves and that leaves us disappointed. So let’s look for joy in the source that never ends and never disappoints.
Let’s take a look at Galatians 5: 22-23. You may have read these verses several times so I want a point a few things out that can be missed.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
One of the things I’ve discovered along the way from this popular passage in Scripture is the following:
- The bigger context of this passage: Paul is writing the book of Galatians to believers who insist on adding to the Gospel. He emphasized in Chapter 1 that we can not add anything to the work of Christ. But the Jewish believers insisted on telling the Gentile believers that other things were needed such as circumcision or the law.
- The “fruit” of the Spirit is a singular fruit not various fruits like many children’s books like to illustrate. It’s one fruit with many components. We don’t get just one or two of these qualities like joy without patience.
- When we put our faith in Jesus and know Him as our Savior, we receive an amazing gift in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells us and as we allow the Spirit to lead we grow and bear fruit.
- The fruit or evidence of the Holy Spirit working in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Before this in verses 19-20 he names the fruit or evidence of the flesh, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry…”
So Joy is something we have in us because the Holy Spirit is in us. Nothing can take it away not circumstances, evil or hardship. Deep seeded joy comes from the Holy Spirit.
Please don’t miss this –joy can only be found in His presence. I didn’t add this verse in our list of verses but it’s a great one to memorize.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
We can have joy even in the difficult moments of life. I’ll explain how below.
Already filled with Joy
When you put your faith in Jesus you are filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe that anyone can feel happy regardless of their knowledge or belief in Jesus. But only those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior can experience this deep-seated joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit.
Here’s the thing that Paul is trying to tell us throughout the book of Galatians is that our salvation or the work of the spirit is not earned or something we do but something done and through us when we come to know Jesus as our Savior. When allow the work of the Spirit in us we are walking in the Spirit and joy, patience, love, gentleness spring forth because it is Christ in us. So even when life is hard, we can still have joy because joy comes from Christ in us.
His joy changes us in the midst of those challenging circumstances, even when He chooses not to change our circumstances.M. H. Tuten
It’s the joy that Paul talked about feeling even in the midst of persecution in Acts 13:52. When you have a moment go back and read that passage 42-52. We see all the persecution and trials the disciples were experiencing joy.
Do you see what else verse 52 says they were filled with? Yes! That’s where our power comes from not from our own inner power or from positive thinking because God knows all of that runs out. So instead of searching inside ourselves as finite beings, doesn’t it make more sense to go to an infinite source. To the fountain of joy, peace, patience, love…–God the Holy Spirit.
I’m sharing 5 verses to help you focus on joy in the midst of a challenging season.
Psalms 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 119:111 Your Word is my treasure;
my heart’s delight.
Thursday: Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is my strength.
Friday: I Chronicles 16:27 Strength and joy are in His place.
Free Joy Verses Printable!
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Family Fruit Challenge
I’m joining a group of bloggers this summer to bring you a Family Fruit Challenge. Each blogger will share a characteristic of the fruit of the spirit with fun activities you can do with your family.
Join us as we learn about the fruits of the Spirit and learn to rely on God to produce His fruit in the lives of our kids!
Sign Up for the Challenge HERE!
The FREE 10 Week Family Challenge:
* A short, weekly devotional about one of the fruits of the Spirit, contributed by 9 different guest writers (10 weeks total, including intro), delivered straight to your inbox!
* Printable memory verse cards about the fruit of the week.
* Printable “Fruit” cards to display in your home.
* Links to activities, songs, games, and crafts that will help your children learn about the fruit of the week.
* Ideas to help motivate your kids to put into practice what they’ve learned.
* Oh, and by the way, it’s totally FREE!