5:22-23 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law.
though my heart’s desire is to be laden with the “Fruit of the Spirit,” I find
that maintaining that standard is sometimes a struggle. However, when one is
able to exhibit the “Fruit of the Spirit” as a way of life it reveals how they
have attained the highest level of maturity and discipline.
must confess that my experience in trying to mature to such a level is like
juggling nine balls all at the same time…I seem to miss more than I catch…even
though I keep trying.
this present time the “Fruit” that I am focusing on the most is “Joy.”
find that joy is often put in the same category with happiness because of their
similarities, even though they are not the same. As a matter of fact happiness
and joy remind me of a flower garden which has both annual and perennial plants.
Both plants are beautiful and bring pleasure, but their lifespan differ
life of an annual plant is usually very short whereas the life of the perennial
plant could last for many seasons.
and happiness work on the same principle. However, if one is not aware of these differences, then when
things get tough logic is allowed to take over and the result is usually the
loss of happiness and the gain of despair and sadness.
Joy on the other hand
is more permanent than happiness because it is not governed by one’s negative life
experiences, but by one’s relationship with the Lord. This means that it is possible
for one to grieve at the deepest level while still maintaining a sense of joy.
A few days ago our ministry
team flew into Maryland
from different parts of the country for our annual Ministers Conference. It has
become our custom (when we gather) for all of the “out of state team members” to
have dinner at the local team member’s home. That is always a delight.
After finishing a
delicious meal I sat back and watched and listened to the others talk for the
next hour or so. The conversational topics seemed to fly back and forth around
the table like rockets. However, I noticed that even though everyone was talking
and enjoy themselves there was no closure to any of the topics.
I love to listen to
others talk because as a writer it not only gives me the chance to learn, but to
also study their rhythm in conversational connectivity. However, that night I
did not find any rhythm at all in their conversational connectivity, but only
masses of words floating around.
As we got up to leave
the table that night the last topic that I recall someone bringing up was the
topic of “happiness and joy.” The following conversation seemed to be more
about their sameness rather than about their difference. I may not have agreed
with all of the thoughts on the subject, but I learned an important lesson in
the midst of that dialog. It was during this last conversation that the Lord
began to talk to me and show me something significant about all the other topics
and masses of floating words.
I discovered that conversational
happiness did not actually require all the dots to be connected and solutions found. Perhaps the lesson for me was to learn
that masses of floating words sometimes play a major role in this type of
happiness even though (like the annual flower) its longevity is relatively
short. In other words, the idea is to have conversation that does not always
require solutions or strategic planning.
Joy on the other hand
reveals that deep sense of lasting relationship with the Lord, even when all
the laughter, smiles and conversations have come to an end. The Holy Spirit is
the only one that can bring such joy. (Thessalonians 1:6b)
Thank You for giving
us natural happiness as well as spiritual joy. Help us not to analyze things so
deeply that we miss the very thing that we are seeking. I thank You Lord for
giving me this needed revelation and helping me as I continue to learn.