Last Saturday, we discovered that Jesus’ Joy, the Joy of the Christ Child, is available simply by believing in Jesus, and that we access it by being in His presence, by allowing Him to console us, and by making God’s precepts our number one priority. The problem is, the moments we feel the least joyous are usually when God seems so far away; when we either don’t have the time to spend with Him or are too upset to even pray. What then?
The first key to receiving Jesus’ Joy is to understand that it is a fruit of the Spirit: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal. 5:22-23 NLT)
So this seemingly elusive joy is a product of having God’s Spirit residing in us, which we actually receive the moment we are saved: “And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy spirit, whom he promised long ago.” (Eph. 1:13b NLT)
In order for us to grow the fruit of joy, however, we must remain connected to Jesus. This doesn’t mean that when you are in trouble and you need joy, you run to Him. It means that we make a habit of spending time with Him, getting to know Him more; and as we do, our spiritual Fruit will multiply and mature: “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.“ (2 Cor. 3:18 NLT).
Does this seem a bit abstract?
Jesus knew it would, and He gave us another beautiful illustration as to how to grow the fruit of joy: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.” (John 15:4-5 NLT). Once again, this doesn’t mean we come to Him only when we need joy; but rather, that we remain connected to Him, and when we do, will bear the fruit of joy.
In summary then, the first step to accessing Jesus’ Joy is to accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. When we do, we are filled with God’s Spirit with the capability of producing the fruit of joy. The next step is to keep our eyes on Him, for when we remain in Him, when we spend time in His presence, we begin to look more and more like Him. The “soil” of our hearts is cultivated to grow the fruit of joy, and as we remain in Him, we will produce that fruit. It will come bubbling up from the inside, filling us like a spring gushing forward from its source, hidden deep in the depths of the rocks.
This is, however, one more thing to consider. Although Jesus’ Joy is ours, it is part of Jesus’ marvelous gift to us, the gift of His own life; although it will grow in our hearts all the time as we remain connected to him and we always have access to it, just like the fruit of any tree, we have to choose to pick the fruit of joy, to utilize it, to accept it as our own. This is why we are admonished in the New Testament to, “Always be joyful.” (1 Thess. 5:16 NLT). We must choose that joy.
There are times when our happiness is rightfully taken away from us. Things that do not bring us happiness happen in and around us all the time, and as a result, we don’t feel joyful. This doesn’t mean we don’t have joy in our hearts; it simply means we don’t feel it. Something is standing in the way.
Habakuk faced this difficulty. Yet in the midst of the worst trial Israel and Judah had ever faced, he chose joy. By doing so he proves to God’s people through all generations that no matter what we are up against, we can also choose joy:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakuk 3:17-18 NLT)
This means that even in the midst of the worst trials possible, we can still choose to rejoice in the Lord. We can still enter into His presence, and there, in the shelter of His almighty wings, we are reassured of His love. Our faith is strengthened in His presence, and we can again access the fruit of joy that is growing in our hearts.
As you enter into this busy season of the year–this season that is so overwritten with Santas, Christmas trees, reindeer, snowmen and sleighs that we often can’t even seem to remember that is supposed to be a celebration of the greatest birth ever–Remember that one of the gifts Jesus came to give us is His joy, Jesus’ Joy, the Joy of the Christ Child. It is available to you now–andall year long–by entering into His presence, by contemplating His love and resting under His wing, and it will grow as you spend more and more time there. All we have to do is choose to accept it.
Why not make Jesus extra happy this year by accessing the Jesus’ Joy He came to give you? If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you can do so now by clickinghere. If you already know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, then spend time with Him, allow His Spirit to grow the fruit of joy in your heart, and then choose to accept it as your own.
This is the final part of “JESUS JOY! Restoring the Joy of the Christ Child–all Year Long! mini-series. If you have missed any parts of this series, you can access the entire series by clickinghere. Or if you do not have access to the internet, email me and I will be happy to forward the series on to you.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire JESUS JOY! mini-series, please click here.)