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Fruity Spirit: Joy

Last week, we talked Love in our series talking through each of the fruits of the Spirit, humorously named “Fruity Spirit”.

Joy isn’t always being  jumping-off-walls happy or shouting “Jesus loves you!” (which sometimes may be the case). Joy can just be being happy about anything and everything. Though sometimes we don’t know how to be happy, because we don’t know or understand what God gives us or why he’s done something, it’s all right because God knows, and understands exactly what’s going on. No matter what, God has a plan for you, and he knows exactly how to get you through the tunnel to the light at the end.

They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you. Deuteronomy 28:46-48

These verses can really dig deep, because they flatly say that if you’re not joyful in the Lord, you will be destroyed! Now maybe it’s not quite for us like it was for the Israelite, but if we don’t have joy in the Lord even as Christians, we can destroy ourselves.

I have a really hard time being happy for all that happens in my life. And that’s natural. From the wise words of one of my previous pastors, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” This rings true throughout our lives; the importance to remain joyful, even when its hard, and especially to be joyful when it isn’t, this is what we are all called to do as followers of Christ.

Check out my post next week on Peace!

Fruity Spirit

You all know of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Applying these things to your life means that you are trusting in the Spirit before anyone or anything else.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 

Briefly, I’m going to go through each fruit of the Spirit. Starting, naturally, with the first.

Love is probably widely believed to be the easiest, but really to love how God wants us to is much harder than it seems. Outside of loving God, love is also treating others the way you want to be treated:

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.'” Leviticus 19:18

That verse is really powerful as its talking about neighbor as your self loving which I find very difficult. Jesus also talks about loving your enemies, which is really crushing at times. Most important, though, is loving God. The verse below is repeated throughout the old and new testament, for good reason:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5

Joy is being happy with everything that happens, and it can often be more difficult than anything else.

On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.” 1 Kings 8:66

This verse explains that the people of Israel were happy with what good things God had done for their nation. And for us this means that you must always be joyful–even if something horrible happens.

Peace (also called forbearance) can be a lot of things, from being content to being a moderator between family or friends. Peace can be compared to love, because love is often required. With it, you can be the bridge between a friend and his enemy, or even two friends. Peace is incredibly important to  our faith, because if you’re violent then nobody will listen to your testimony.

Patience, this could possibly be called the easiest fruit to grow in your heart. Patience can be waiting and not complaining or…

…in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…” 2 Corinthians 6:5-7

… a weapon. Yup, I said it. A weapon. In fact, all the fruits of the Spirit are weapons (I’ll talk about this further in another post).

Kindness is mentioned in that last verse, saying it too was a weapon, but it focuses on reaching out to people.

Goodness is incredibly crucial; it is our purity, righteousness, and obedience to God. Having goodness means that we strive to walk with God in everything.

Faithfulness could possibly be the most important fruit of all.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”” Exodus 34:6

This verse talks about how God is eternally faithful to us and how because of his faithfulness, we need to return it. Faithfulness basically means devotion, which means that God is devoted to us.

Gentleness, I always think of whales when I hear the word gentleness because they’re so gentle (except maybe Killer Whales). Gentleness basically means hugs and pillows, but that doesn’t mean you go around giving hugs and pillows.

Last but definitely not least is self-control. This is important because, without it, we won’t have the will to strive for any of the other fruits of the Spirit.

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” Titus 2:12

Paul tells us specifically that the only way to live a successful life is to be self-controlled.

The fruits of the Spirit may appear to only be contained in a few verses of Galatians, but, in reality, are important and powerful qualities found in places all over the bible, and to be applied all over our lives. Over the next nine weeks, I’ll be getting into detail for each fruit in a new series called “Fruity Spirit”.

The War

We all love epic stories. The epic characters, sagas, and conflicts of movies, shows, and games fascinate us. All of these things are cool and compelling, but when it comes to wars of gigantic proportions, no historic or fictional conflict can compare to the one we are a part of every day.

Many people have a very wrong understanding of angels. These heavenly creatures were created to glorify God, but also to be his warriors. These folks are for real. No wimpy Cupid nonsense. And every minute that goes by, people around the world are making the choice between good and evil–something which spiritual forces on both sides attempt to sway. God’s faithful warriors protect his followers as they go about. We can’t even see all that goes on because it is so beyond our understanding. But at the same time, all of this takes place right here on Earth. This is because these angels are in a different part of our world: the spirit world. This other part of our world, that we can’t see, contains the very literal part of the war.

But just because we can’t tell, doesn’t mean we aren’t in the middle of a battleground.

The Israelites fought for God constantly throughout their history. God simply told them to go and they did (though maybe after some complaining). One such example is below:

He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.”” Deuteronomy 20:3

It’s not as if good and evil just fight for the heck of it. The war that goes on has a huge purpose–or why would it occur? It’s not just about power, it’s about power over the souls of humanity. As much as that sounds like something out of some old horror movie, this is real. The great part is the power over our heart is ours to give. We still have the choice. The war is deciding in our lives and in everyone’s, the victories mean lives saved by Christ, and losses are those without.

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