Tuesday, August 11, 2009

God's Joy - The Fruit of the Spirit Part 2 cont

This Joy, His Joy
Grows and grows
This Joy, His Joy
This Joy, His Joy
Sets the captives free
Thank You, Lord
For giving it to me

When I was thinking about writing this post, this simple chorus came to mind. It is one of several songs that my parents used to sing in the car when we were on long road trips, in the days before DVD players in the car. The tune is catchy - I wish I could hum a few bars for you - but most importantly the message is profound. The Joy that God will provide for us if we will simply ask is: growing and alive, abundant, and has the power to set us free.

"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.' For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD - the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:10-14 (NIV)

This is not a well-known passage of scripture, but it exemplifies these three characteristics of God's Joy.
  • Growing and alive - God promises His bounty to His people as a source of joy. Grain, new wine, oil, livestock will liken Israel to a well-watered garden.
  • Abundant - God promises that His people will be filled, they will dance, even their mourning will be turned into gladness
  • Liberating - the LORD will rescue His people from circumstances beyond their control and stronger than they are
The chorus ends by thanking God for giving me this Joy. Indeed I need this joy and would be grateful to God for giving it to me, so how do I get it?

Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?"
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.
Psalm 4:6-7 (NIV)

When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)

These verses teach me two things about receiving Joy. First, it seems to come in the midst of trouble; when everyone around us is asking, "Where's the good" and when our feet are slipping in fear, God's Joy comes in. Second, it comes with intimate, close, consistent relationship with God. When His face shines on us, His love supports us, and He consoles us with His Joy.


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