Joy And Peace As Fruit Of The Spirit
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." (Galatians 5:16-25)
Lack of modesty in all things is conducive to the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). In stark contrast to this sordid lifestyle is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). These qualities exemplified by walking in the Spirit have been divided by some into three distinct groups. The first turns thoughts to God, the second to our fellowmen, and the third to ourselves. This article examines those that turn our thoughts to God and builds on the foundation laid by the overarching fruit of the Spirit, love.
Things That Indicate A Lack Of The Fruit Of Joy And Peace
Many are sad, morose, and disgruntled. Why is this? They find superficial joy in earthly things, but these inevitably fail and change. That is the way it is with all material things. In the words of Christ, these things "moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal." The sad, morose, and disgruntled need a new set of values from the Spirit of God. Some (in fact many!) temporal things aren't wrong, but they become wrong if we allow them to quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Some think living for Christ is a killjoy business. Instead, the Bible is a book of joy (Psalms 119:111; John 17:13). The Christian’s joy is infinitely higher because he not only enjoys righteous temporal things, but has true stock in spiritual blessings also (Matthew 6:19-24). Joy is fruit of the Spirit (Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).
New York Times bestseller Timothy Keller in his work "The Reason For God" devotes an entire chapter to what he calls "The Dance Of God." In the chapter he develops an idea laid forth by others before him that God's creation of the world stemmed out of the joy experienced between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It really is an exceptional analogy and we recommend reading the section. In the chapter, he shares two quotes regarding this concept that we'd like to share with you to help express the importance of joy as integral to the Godhead and by extension integral to us.
"The Father...Son...and Holy Spirit glorify each other....At the center of the universe, self-giving love is the dynamic currency of the Trinitarian life of God. The persons within God exalt, commune with, and defer to one another....When early Greek Christians spoke of perichoresis in God they meant that each divine person harbors the others at the center of his being. In constant movement of overture and acceptance each person envelops and encircles the others."
Cornelius Plantinga, Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living (Eerdmans, 2002)
"In Christianity God is not an impersonal thing nor a static thing--not even just one person--but a dynamic pulsating activity, a life, a kind of drama, almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance....[The] pattern of this three-personal life is...the great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality."
C.S. Lewis, "The Good Infection" in Mere Christianity.
How Do We Characterize The Joy Christians Have?
It is utter joy in the love of God. Because we are conscious of God’s love and because we have love toward others, we also have great joy (1 John 4:19). And why shouldn’t we be joyous? (John 15:13). Christians find joy in what was done in the past, and also in what God does for us now (Psalms 116:1; 1 Peter 3:12). It is joy in knowing we are forgiven and have fellowship with God. We have sources of joy which are not rooted in the material and physical. Our source is rooted in Christ and not the changing circumstances of life.
There is joy in the service of God. There is no earthly gift you can give that is everlasting, but in serving God and leading others to Christ, you give an eternal gift. Jesus wants His joy in us (John 15:11). So, what was His joy? It was to do His Father’s will (John 4:34). That alone gives us His joy (John 15:10). In His service there is joy of knowing He will plead our case (John 16:24). Fellowship with God gives joy (1 John 1:4).
There is joy in the hope of heaven. How wonderful to know we have a house not made with hands (2 Corinthians 5:1). There is a desire in everyone to live on (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Only the Christian has a promise of eternal joy. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. It is for those who faithfully live in service to God. Such faith and joy makes every true Christian a walking advertisement for the gospel. As the old hymn teaches, we may be the only Bible people read; let's make it a joyful and invigorating read! In so doing, we will inspire them to become protagonists in the divine story!
There is joy in knowing that we can grow and be better tomorrow than today (Philippians 4:4). Much heartache results from the repercussions of sins in this world. The worst has to be in division from our Almighty Creator. The weight of sin is indescribable and that burden can only be lifted by God. And you know what? God not only lifts the burden, but He exalts the penitent withinexpressible joy. And with that revolution comes an incredible job detail (Psalms 51:11-12).
Peace Is Fruit Of The Spirit.
Peace is a precious word, and there are two kinds of peace. Millions of dollars are spent each year to preserve peace. The government hires many peace officers but the peace sought by these is merely on the exterior. There may be external peace without internal peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And the King of wisdom illustrates so perfectly the peace that can be had in choosing God's way in wisdom. Recall that the wisdom from above is FIRST peaceable (James 3:17). How do we describe the peace that is the fruit of the Spirit? It is the absence of disturbance, the presence of harmony in the heart and in state with God and man. It is peace with God (Romans 5:1; Galatians 5:1). Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14-15). Peace refers to harmonious relationships. Peace with God is possible only when sin is removed (Mark 16:16).
It is peace with brethren (1 Thessalonians 5:13b). It is not the result of mere human attainment. It comes from God through Christ. This peace will be manifest in all aspects of a Christian’s life. It should be in our homes. Peace must exist in the body of Christ. When the carnal-minded Corinthians divided and destroyed congregational peace, Paul rebuked them (1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:1-4; 14:33). Keeping peace requires diligent effort (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Peace does NOT mean peace at any price! We are not to come to terms with sin or error in our (or others') lives. We are to oppose evil and error. We seek peace as long as we can have it and be faithful to God. If there is ever conflict with anyone, it must not be our fault (Romans 12:18). Christians cannot be at peace with everything in the world (John 15:18-19). In spite of the opposition of the world, we can have internal peace. This peace will keep us even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalms 23:4).
Bearing The Fruit Of Joy And Peace
The spiritual fruit of joy and peace ought to be earnestly desired and sought. Spiritual joy and peace are the fruit this world so desperately needs in order to be redirected to the path to heaven. So many hearts ache at the calamity resulting in sin and the cure is so freely available for all sick souls. Submit to God and bear the beautiful Holy Spirit fruit of joy and peace!