Here’s what I know about joy.
- It can’t be manufactured.
- It doesn’t depend on circumstances.
- It’s a gift from the Lord.
- It’s part of the cluster of fruit produced by the Holy Spirit residing in believers.
- It can’t be stolen by anything, ever!
So…what do you know about joy? Has yours been touch-and-go? Mine was, too, for much of my Christian walk. When a change in circumstances threatened my joy, I’d try desperately to hold on to that fragile treasure. Much of the time, I faked joy because I knew Christ-followers are supposed to be full of joy and I didn’t want to look like a failure.
After spending years living that way, I discovered an amazing secret. Joy is part of the cluster of fruit produced by the Holy Spirit residing in believers. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) lists nine parts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
What gives us access to these amazing qualities? One glorious day I found the answer—total surrender to Christ, 100 percent, all I am and have, my past, present, and future, all my hopes and dreams. Following my prayer of surrender, that luscious fruit flooded my life.
I began learning what it means to abide in Christ through a continual surrender of every circumstance, walking with him moment by moment, depending on him alone.I began learning what it means to abide in Christ through a continual surrender of every circumstance, walking with him moment by moment, depending on him alone. Click To Tweet
That growth didn’t happen overnight. My wavering faith traveled a curvy path as I struggled to walk in the control of the Holy Spirit. My joy was still touch-and-go until I realized that while joy is fruit of the Spirit, it’s also my choice.
This passage transformed me. “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 KJV).
I will joy in the God of my salvation. A choice!
My joy is determined by one radical decision: to surrender to Christ and walk with him in obedience, choosing to put into practice what his Word says, no matter what.My joy is determined by one radical decision: to surrender to Christ and walk with him in obedience, choosing to put into practice what his Word says, no matter what. Click To Tweet
Jesus, in his own words: “If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself, [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me, [cleave steadfastly to Me, Conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]” (Matthew 16:24 Amplified).
That’s what surrender looks like.
Life delivers much heartache. How we respond is our choice. If we surrender the heartache to Christ and keep trusting him, we can live in joy, no matter what!
If you’ve struggled to hold on to joy, I’d appreciate your leaving a comment. And please share this article with your friends!
© Dianne Barker 2021