Everyone in life wants to be happy. Happiness can be felt at all different levels like eating an ice-cream cone to big things like having the perfect job. But like that ice-cream cone, happiness is temporary. It is a term based on emotion and is never a fixed state. You see, about a month ago, my happy meter ran out and I was in a rut of muck. As we know, this happens to everyone. Our sin takes over and we feel like we are at a standstill with God. So probably after a little self pity (and an ice-cream cone), I turned to the one question I know I want for myself, “How can I make myself more like Jesus?”
And this is what I found.
Galations 5:16-25 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
I have known the fruits of the spirit for forever. ( I even know a song for it, thank you Mrs. Sue!) But when I really thought about it, I could think of over half of the fruits that I don’t come close to possessing. Yet this is who Jesus tells me to be. Since then, I have been digging deep on what it means to show these characteristics in my life. How are we supposed to love? What does it mean to be peaceful? How do I show gentleness in my life? So this is my plan: pursue one fruit at a time and move to the next when I felt it was time. Like I said before, because my happy meter was low, I started with joy.
AND JOY ROCKED MY WORLD!
Joy: to be disciplined in giving thanks in every state and situation; to see the good from our Lord. To be humble and to be a servant. To be worshiping the Lord always.
So it was actual perfect timing. At the time I started this study was also the time that Rend Collective came out with their new album The Art of Celebration. This album is fully on Celebrating the art of Joy in Christ. (Watch video above to get your socks knocked off.) But really I have watched this video over 20 times. Everything it says blows me away.
“Seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit, but joy is.”
Jesus knows that being joyful is not easy for us. It’s in our sinful nature to find the wrong in things and be discontent. That is why Jesus actually commands us to be joyful in life (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thess. 4:16) He tells us we will face many things in life: sufferings, trials, familiarity, love, abandonment and more. But through it all, we must be joyful always. (James 1:2-18)
Joy is a spiritual discipline.
Joy is something we have to fight for. And we need to get down to the serious business of pursuing it. I know for me, I have to consciously remember to be joyful everyday. Actually like 10 times a day. It is not an easy task, but He tells us it is eternal and provides a full life; and that is something I want to race for. As Hebrews 12: 1-3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, let us look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorned the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured much from sinners so you may not grow weary and lose heart.”
While I try and discover these things, I hope it can encourage you to pursue the fruits of the spirit the same. Hey, we could all stand to be a little more like Jesus. #1, being me.
So join me (& Rend Collective) and lets get down to the serious business of pursuing JOY.