Living to the “Nines” — with JOY
September 20, 2011
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The basis of “Living to the Nines” is the “Fruit of the Spirit” that the apostle Paul lists in his letter to the Galatians. We’ll look at the nine facets of this fruit of a life filled with God. Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 6:22-23) Let’s take a closer look at that second facet of the fruit of the Spirit of God, joy.
What’s joy? My description – The person of joy is happily optimistic that in every situation God is up to something good.
I like to be around people who exhibit joy. I like being around myself more when I feel joyful! Who wants to live in a joyless state? Not me!
So, how can we have joy? It may verge on being a cliché (and serious writers despise clichés) but I’m going to repeat it anyway, because it contains so much truth. Happiness depends on happenings and joy depends on Jesus. The apostle Paul made it clear that joy and the Lord are connected. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) Paul wrote this while he was being jailed for doing nothing wrong, just preaching the gospel! If he could rejoice under those unfair and unhappy circumstances then I want to take his inspired words seriously.
Paul trusted that the Lord was up to something good in spite of how the circumstances looked. I got to thinking about an illustration of this and was reminded of several years ago when a friend of mine pounded a hole in a wall in our family room and I was full of joy and excitement! Why? Because I knew he was up to something good. He was helping us change our old family room into a country kitchen. We had talked about placing a window on the west wall, just above where the kitchen sink would be. That’s where he pounded a hole in the wall. I’ll admit I grimaced a bit when he started to tear into the wall, but I trusted him.
We don’t always know why circumstances are the way they are, and often wish they weren’t what they are. But if we believe in a God who is all-loving and wants the best for us and is all-wise and knows what’s best then we can have joy in Him even if we aren’t particularly happy about our circumstances. It was said of Jesus that “for the joy set before him he endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) It’s a joy over the end results, which we trust will be good because we trust in our good Lord!
A practical outcome of following Jesus is that we practice joy. So, let’s practice joy today!