Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 15:13; Nehemiah 8:10
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - JOY
Good evening and welcome to our nightly Bible devotional.
(I’ve Got Joy down in my heart, deep, deep down in my heart. J-O-Y down in my heart, deep, deep down in my heart. My Jesus put it there, and nothing can destroy, destroy, destroy. I’ve got joy down in my heart, deep, deep down in my heart!)
Tonight we are going to have a ball (rubber ball). Well, not this kind of a ball. But we are going to talk about joy.
The expression, “have a ball,” comes from the days when wealthy people would throw a ball at their house and invite their friends and colleagues. There was music and dancing. It was a luxurious and fun event for those who were invited to come. It reminds me of the Christmas parties that the Fezziwigs threw in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Such festivities couldn’t help but bring a smile to the face and joy to the heart. The expression, “have a ball,” today means to have a good time filled with joy.
But to be perfectly honest. Joy doesn’t come from events or circumstances. That is happiness. Happiness comes from the same root word that happenings comes from. Happiness is dependent on the circumstances. That is why that happiness seems so illusive to some folks today.
Have you ever met someone who always seemed to smile even when circumstances were grim? I once had a lady in one of my congregations who always smiled. I loved to preach and look over at her. That’s because there were so many others who always seemed to have a scowl on their face. They came to church with expectations that they wanted met. MaryLou came to church because she loves Jesus and she felt a joy just for being there.
Joy comes from within. It is sparked by God’s spirit at work in you. It’s more than happiness because joy seems to motivate you. In fact, Nehemiah inspired the Jews to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem by telling them, “…The Joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Let’s look at Jesus for a moment. I love the picture called, “The Laughing Jesus,” by Ralph Kozak. I believe that Jesus was a fun person to be around. I believe that one of the reasons so many people were attracted to Jesus was because he had a joy that came from God. Jesus often used humorous statements and stories to get people to think and smile.
Jesus was a joyful person and he wants his followers to have joy too. The early church prayed powerful and joyful prayers for boldness when Peter and John were released from prison. Paul and Silas sang in a jail cell after being beaten. And Jesus wants you to “Sing a new song” as you express joy to the Lord.
In fact, Hebrews 12:1-3 talks about the joy that Jesus has for us. It 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Did you get that. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before him. The cross was a horrible and painful thing to endure. But for Jesus it was a momentary bit of pain compared to the joy of all eternity with those whom he saves.
When we fix our eyes on Jesus we can endure all kinds of things. Our temporary troubles are nothing compared to eternity with Jesus. Now that’s something to bring joy to us all. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Consider it joy… just like Jesus did!
My prayer for you is from Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s Pray!
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the joy you put in my heart when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Please help me to be joyful in all occasions regardless of the circumstances. Please help me tell others of this joy I have in you. In Jesus' Name, AMEN!
Let’s go produce some fruit. BE JOYFUL AND HAVE A BALL! I hope you will join us tomorrow night at 6pm. God bless you and have a great night.