When I was at home, as a youngster, I wanted to grow up and be out on my own. You know how it was …. the folks were sticks in the mud, kill-joys, and grinches all combined. It seemed like anything I really wanted to do they were against… like lighting the cats tail on fire, playing basketball inside the house, and of course, staying up until 3:00 AM watching my favorite horror movie. These were the important things in life… these are the things that would give a guy real satisfaction… and all they could say was “NO”. That’s why, at times, I wanted to be away from my folks… then I could do what I want when I want.
Well, my folks thought otherwise, they would tell me, “Rob, appreciate your life at home. You have very few responsibilities and people who love you and look out for you.” Believe me, I didn’t see what they meant, but I sure do now! They were right, my time at home, growing up with a loving family, was one of the best times of my life. I was blessed and I didn’t’ realize it, I took the blessing of a loving family for granted and only later in life (when I was out on my own) did I really begin to understand how blessed I had been.
This brings to my mind, the songs I would hear my Mom or Dad sing at home…“Count Your Many Blessings” (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIYl6lK1c50 ) There are many songs we sing that have a practical application to them, but throughout my life, I have found that this song is one of the most needed songs for my life. One of the most amazing things takes place in my life, when I am discouraged, and then I think of this song, I begin to apply it’s message and joy replaces my discouragement as I think of all my God has done for me.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)
In our Galatians verses, we find that “joy” is among the list of fruits that the Spirit gives to us when we are saved. For us to understand the fruit of joy, we need to know it’s relation to happiness in the Bible. “Joy” and “happiness” are associated with one another in God’s Word, but they are not the same. When we are “happy” … “joy” should follow.
The Greek word for happy is most times translated “blessed”. In the New Testament, a man who is described as “happy” refers to a man who is blessed. This is his condition in life. In the Bible “happy” is a state of being, not an emotion. In other words, when a man is said to be “happy”…. the New Testament is saying that this man is receiving blessings from the Lord. This is clearly brought out in several verses, here is just one….”Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. “ Here, in James 5:11, the Bible says that when we see someone who is able to endure all this life throws at them, remaining faithful to their Lord… that is proof that they are being blessed by God.
“Joy” on the other hand, does not refer to a condition, but to an emotion. “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; “ (2 Tim 1:4) Paul was saying that when he could see Timothy face to face, he would be filled with the emotion of cheerfulness or “joy””. So to summarize, the Bible describes anyone who is “blessed” as being “happy”, whether he realizes that he is blessed or not. The Bible describes a man as “joyful” because he recognizes he is blessed and then outwardly displays his appreciation through joy.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (Psa 103:2)
So to put these two ideas together, the idea is this…. we are to desire and recognize the blessings we are given every day. Then out of appreciation for all He has done for us, have a joyful attitude about us. We are not to forget what He has done for us, but we are to allow the blessings He’s given to us be an encouragement and strength to us.
In other words, we should be joyful that He has blessed us.
For those of us who are saved, it is an absolute necessity to recognize all His blessings He has given to us. How sad it is for us to forget what He has done after He has done so very much for us. He came to the earth, humbled Himself as a man and then died on the cross for our sins (Phil 2:5-11). It is through this joy that we receive the encouragement and strength to serve Him in the midst of a fallen world. (Neh 8:10)
For those who have never received Christ as their Savior…. trust in Christ and His work today… it is only through Him that you can have a true, permanent, fullness of joy (Psa 16:11). This joy is given to us through His death on the cross, as He died to save His people from their sins. (Matt 1:21) By trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior, His grace, forgiveness and presence, bring forth joy and gladness in our hearts. He has saved us from an eternity of punishment for our sins… He has saved us from the rule of sin in our lives. What a reason to be joyful!!!
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”