God’s fruit of joy
Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that reflects reliance on God. Jubilantly, a soul connected to Jesus gives tribute to God’s redemptive work. When the conflicts of the heart have been resolved, joy is the result. Such a condition is simply the outward testimony that all is well within.
Joy is the expression of the trusting heart experiencing God—His power to live, His freedom from bondage, His promise of eternal fellowship. The transforming hand of God liberates a life from the prison of oppression when we yield to His design, resulting in joy.
Counterfeit joy is only pleasure.
People seem content to counterfeit joy with pleasure. The shackles of the sensual amusements of the world, the flesh, and the devil draw us through the lust of our hearts and the vanity of our lives and bind us in strongholds.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.1 John 2:15–17 NLT
Futility is the result of the counterfeit fruit of joy.
Pleasure does not have to be blatantly sinful. Yet all pleasure becomes sinful when we seek to be complete in it. When Jesus is left out of our lives, the pain of insatiable desires results in depriving us of the hope of fulfillment—futility. If you find yourself experiencing the symptom of futility, consider what means of pleasure you are employing to counterfeit God’s fruit of joy.
I said to myself, “Come now, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless.Ecclesiastes 2:1 NLT
King Solomon provides an example of the futility of pleasure.
So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.Ecclesiastes 2:2–11 NLT
Be filled with the fruit of joy.
God’s solution to the meaninglessness is found in our connection to Jesus.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!John 15:4–11 NLT
We will evidence the fruit of joy when we give up our futile pursuit of pleasure and choose reliance on God.
To evidence God’s fruit of joy, follow this Prayer Pattern.
Father, I pray that You, the source of hope, will fill me completely with joy and peace because I trust in You. I want to overflow with confident hope through the power of Your Holy Spirit.based on Romans 15:13
Here are some journaling questions for you to process as you consider the fruit of the Spirit, which is joy.
- When have I sought pleasure instead of relying on the Spirit’s fruit of joy?
- What were the results?
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By all means, don’t miss The Fruit of the Spirit is Love.
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Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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