We are nearing the end of yet another wonderful semester in Nacogdoches and I pray you are well and experiencing the daily goodness of our great God.
For this months article I want to share with you on the topic of joy. This coming Tuesday night I will be speaking to a group of college students at our weekly worship night called 24:7. Joy is the topic which I will be tackling so it has been heavy on my mind recently and I wanted to share a few of those thoughts with you.
The first difficulty in understanding joy is in understanding exactly what joy is. In Galatians 5 Paul gives us an extensive list of the things which are the evidence of us living according to the flesh. He calls these the deeds of the flesh and tells us that those who do these things will not in inherit the kingdom of God. The deeds of the flesh are things which we do which can easily be perceived on the exterior. He contrasts the deeds of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit which is quite a different list altogether.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do you see the difference? These are not things you do, these are personality traits. These fruits of the Spirit describe the personality of the Spirit of God. So why is this important as we discover what living in joy really looks like?
For most of us, we believe joy is something which we choose to be or choose to do. The reality is, joy is not something which we can produce but only something in which we can participate and live in as the result of our relationship with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Being joyful is not an action which we take, being joyful is part of us as we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us in our hearts and our minds on a daily basis. The good news is that God NEVER changes. So, that means He is always full of joy! The joy of God is not mindful of circumstances. His joy is full and complete at all times and if it’s His joy which we are participating in, then we have the opportunity to experience joy in all things. There is literally no circumstance which can rob us of joy because there is no circumstance which can rob us of our relationship with God.
So I pray we would, together, experience the fullest of joy as we walk with God in and through whatever life throws our way. I pray God would multiply the shouts of joy within the walls of this church as we celebrate the great gift of grace God has given, which has allowed us such nearness with Him.
 Galatians 5 (ESV)
 Gal. 5:22 (ESV)
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