Tag: Galatians 5:22-23

Claiming the Promises of the Psalms: The Promise of Joy

You make known to me the path of life, You will fill me with joy in your presenceThe precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart…When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy….The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy…Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy (Psalm 16:11, 19:8, 94:19, 126:3,5 NIV)

“Claiming the Promises of the Psalms” was begun at the beginning of 2021 – a time in which I believed strongly we needed to notice and take encouragement from God’s Word. The pandemic that affected all of us – in America and abroad – is still with us. Our own country now has new issues facing those trying to raise families, make a living and live out their faith.Those who have small businesses have been particularly impacted by circumstances outside their control – no matter how hard they work, their lives have been made more difficult.

I took particular encouragement this week from a story about a small business that had to close down. After only five months in business, a retail toy store had to close its doors. The owners wanted to bring the joy back into shopping for toys. Their concept was a great one and their customers loved them and their shop. Several factors, though, caused them to decide they could not stay open. The American supply chain crisis was the last nail in that coffin. The owners’ cost had increased so much they couldn’t afford to buy any more product and knew their customers would not be able to pay the new elevated prices that would enable them to stay in business.

The owners of JoJo’s Toys and More in Newington, CT were sad, to be sure, about the necessity to close their dream store. It was their response that was captivating to me.

We are waiting for what the Lord has for us.

We get through it because of our faith.

There’s joy in our hearts – believe it or not – there’s joy in our hearts.

Eliah and Priscilla Lefferts

What a difference knowing the God of the universe makes! When things are falling apart around us, we know that He is for us. He promises joy – no matter what the circumstances are.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).

From Frazzled to Fruitful

When we lived in California, we had many fruit trees in our yard. Some produced better than others. The lemon tree in our front yard had some really strange looking lemons. We were told it was because we were not giving the tree enough water. Neglect had produced a less than superior product.

fig_1In our back yard, we had the most prolific fig tree I have ever seen. When we moved into our house, that fig tree was practically a stump because it had been pruned so much. I remember wondering if it would produce any fruit at all. Since it was in an area where we planted grass and watered regularly, that particular tree was not neglected. It produced the most amazingly bountiful crop of figs. Attention to that tree brought the desired results.

It is like that in our spiritual lives. As Christians, those of us who desire to produce fruit in our lives must pay attention to how we are living. The fruit of the Spirit, present in every believer, may lie dormant from neglect, but when the Spirit is allowed to nurture what is already there, there is an obvious difference in productivity.

Life is full of stresses Рsome good, some bad Рbut we sometimes allow those stresses to rob us of the joy of the Lord and the peace that comes with knowing Him. Instead we feel frazzled or stressed out.

So often we measure ourselves – or others measure us – by what we do. Our measurement should be God’s standards. Paul gives a list of the elements of the fruit of the Spirit of Christ. That fruit is measured not by what we do, but our character, who we are in Christ. God does desire that we produce tangible fruit, but it is His character that will produce good works, not ours.

How is it possible to keep from being frazzled or completely stressed by cares of life? Act and react in love. An action is something you originate. A reaction is how you respond to other’s actions. When we act and react in His love, God will do through us what we cannot accomplish in our own strength.

Paul describes some elements of a frazzled or stressed lifestyle just before he lists the fruit of the Spirit. Immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, etc.  Рnot one of these deeds of the flesh brings to mind a calm and fruitful person who is trusting in God. They are, in fact, opposites.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul describes the cure for a frazzled and stressed out lifestyle by his next words.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, 25 NAS).