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Hey there!

Last week we challenged ourselves to challenge ourselves to grow in the fruits of the Spirit beginning with Love.  Well, how’d you do?  I hope you not only took the challenges that were presented to you but I hope you went a little further and stretched and challenged yourself in the area Love.  I know I hadn’t so much as finished writing before I was confronted with an opportunity to go beyond myself to Love.  I thank God for the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudge.  He’s always ready to give us what we need when we need it.  But as we talked about last week, the decision is ours whether to yield to His nudging or not.  As a matter of fact, growing in the fruits of the Spirit is really learning to yield to the Holy Spirit because fruits are produced in us by Him.

This week we’re challenging ourselves in Joy.   Now if you’re thinking this is an easy one think again.  Let’s look at what Joy is.  I like the definition given by the late Apostle Betty Peebles, “Joy is an inward stability that God through Jesus Christ has already work it out on our behalf.”   We can’t obtain this kind of joy it is developed or produced in us by the working of the Holy Spirit.  It’s important for us to know that nothing on the outside of us can give us joy. And that joy is not just an emotion but it is Christ in us.  Emotions can be turned on and off by things on the outside of us but joy is not affected by the things on the outside.  Yes, our emotions are affected by the presence of joy but joy itself is not just an emotion just as fear is not an emotion.  According to II Timothy 1:7 fear is a spirit yet our emotions are affected by the presence of fear.

Therefore, to challenge ourselves in joy is to challenge ourselves to allow the Holy Spirit no matter what situation or circumstance we’re going through to cause us to remain stable, trusting God that He has supplied all that we need through Christ.  Things don’t necessarily have to be all good, but in the midst of it we can have joy.  You could be down to your last dime financially but in the midst of it you can still have joy.  In the midst of everything and all things we can have an inward stability that God through Jesus Christ has already worked it out so we don’t have to freak out.

The most exciting part of this is that we don’t work to obtain joy.  It comes out of our relationship with Christ.  Jesus said in  John 15:4, “Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”  Therefore, the more that we are in fellowship with Jesus, listening, talking, giving, receiving, the more joy the Holy Spirit produces in us or the more inward stability and trust in God the Holy Spirit produces in us.

I challenge you this week to challenge yourself to allow the joy of the Lord to flow through you no matter what you’re faced with throughout this week.  Remember the choice is yours to yield or not.  However, yielding comes easy to someone you’re in relationship with.  Don’t forget I want to hear from you.  Let’s encourage each other in Joy!