Joy is not a fruit of the natural man. It is a fruit of the Spirit. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, no man can rejoice in all situations. If you desire this fruit’s manifestation, then you must hunger and thirst after it. For blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matt 5:6

According to author Glenn Pease “Joy is not a positive feeling that life is going great. Joy is a feeling that no matter how hard life is, I have the best that life can offer in Christ. Anyone can feel good and be happy when all is going well and life is free of negatives. But with the fruit of joy you can rejoice in the Lord always, even when life is full of negatives. This is not man generated joy, but the joy of the Lord which is our strength.

Madam Guyon was thrown into prison in France, and she wrote-

“I passed my time there in great peace, content to pass the rest of my life there, if such were the will of God. I sang songs of joy, while the maid who served me learned by heart as fast as I made them, and we together sang Thy praises, o my God. The stones of my prison looked in my eyes like rubies. I esteemed them more than all the gaudy brilliance of the world. My heart was full of that joy Thou givest to them that love Thee in the midst of their greatest crosses.” Her poetry, which she sang in prison, is still read and sung today, though she died in 171 7. She wrote forty volumes. Here are just a few lines –

Tho my foes have combined

and my body confined

yet my soul is with liberty blest.

I am humbly content

With whatever is sent

For I know that Thy pleasure is best.

Thy wondrous defense

Makes a cell seem immence.

It sheds so peculiar a grace.

Such a pleasure abounds,

Such a glory surrounds,

And the joys of Thy kingdom embrace.

John Wesley said, “Sour godliness is the devil’s religion.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, that even when Christians are persecuted and slandered, they are to rejoice and be glad for their reward is great in heaven. Joy in hard times is a Christian obligation. That is why we need the filling of the Spirit, for we cannot produce this fruit on our own. Paul says in I Thess. 5:16, “Be joyful always.” He does not say ninety per cent of the time, or ninety eight per cent of the time, but always. That is not natural, but is of the Holy Spirit. Augustine said over 1500 years ago, “There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art.” Jesus was the most joy-filled person ever to live on this planet. We are told this in Hebrews 1:9, where it says of Christ, “…your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” In other words, there has never been another above Jesus in joy. He had the highest level of joy possible, and none has never matched it. An apple is an apple, and a pear is a pear, but not all apples and pears are equal. Some are better than others. They are bigger, juicier, and sweeter than others. So it is with joy, and all the fruits of the Spirit. They grow like fruit, and so there are all different stages of growth. Jesus had the perfect fruit of joy. This is what all believers will have in heaven. This was the hope of even the Old Testament saints. David says in Psalm 16:11, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasure at your right hand.”

So are you downcast today, you can say with Dr. Gregory Frizzell “Lord, I believe you to fill me with a supernatural joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.  Show me how I fail to rejoice and give praise at all times.” For the joy of the Lord is your strength!

(Much of this write-up was derived from Glenn Pease’s article on The Fruit of the Spirit).

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