Evangel – Spring 2012
In the song, Joy Unspeakable, we find the words, “I have found the pleasure I once craved, It is joy and peace within; what a wonderful blessing! I am saved from the awful gulf of sin.” Have you ever wondered about joy and where it comes from?
In our life group study, we have been looking at the source and growth of joy. In Galatians 5:22 we find that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. A spiritual source. However, in John 15:4 we are told that we can not bear fruit (have joy) unless we abide in Christ. In abiding in Christ we develop a love relationship with Him — the branch to the vine, which continues to blossom over time if we keep (obey) His commandments (growth John 15:10-11). This brings a partial joy. An additional aspect to our relationship with God that leads to full joy, is the hardest for us to grasp and accept. We are to be pruned by God in order to produce more fruit. Romans 5:3 says we will have tribulations or trials (our pruning) which will test our faith and draw us closer to Christ and thereby our joy will be made full. Complete joy.
Have you been tested?
As a new Christian I was tested very early on by God. I was depending on a church leader (mentor) for my spiritual growth (and joy?). Then one day he was gone, left without warning. I felt let down, betrayed. In hindsight, this seems minor compared to the testing I have gone through since then, but to a new Christian this was serious stuff. What am I to do? Shortly thereafter I was reading Philippians and saw where Paul said to the Philippians that “God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) From this I realized that Christ was really my mentor — He would supply all my needs — and my soul was filled with great joy.
Have you been filled with His joy?