Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy – Lawrence

Christ reminds us that when we fast, not to look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18.
In March of 1955, over a half-century ago, I received The Bible Reader’s Encyclopaedia and Concordance. I still use this book today. Under the heading of Joy it is written that in no other religion is joy as conspicuous as in Christianity. Joy, it says, denotes the satisfaction of the soul at attaining its desire.
It has been said that some Christians go around in a gloomy disposition. I don’t know why we would do this. Jesus himself was a sociable person. We see him at a wedding; being entertained at meals; talking to women, to Samaritans, to Romans, to Tax Collectors, to Sadducees, and to Pharisees, among others. Jesus was anxious to heal people of their physical illnesses and sinful natures. Jesus wants our life to be abundant and our joy to be full (John chapters 10 and 16).
Joy is one of the Spiritual fruit mentioned in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians chapter 5, and it is a fruit that we can cultivate. In order to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit we should set our minds upon it. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spiritto set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8: 5, 6
That on which we set our minds will grow and flourish within us. When we think and meditate on the fruit of the Spirit, e.g. Joy, it grows and matures. In The Oprah Magazine for January 2008, there was an article called Awakening Joy, in which it was said that whatever you focus on will grow.
So, think about Joy; practise Joy; look for Joy in whatever situation you find yourself. A friend of mine told me that that was her intention for 2008, to find the joy in everything that happens to her. And, she says, it works! The Spiritual fruit of Joy is growing in her and it makes her feel good. Why don’t we start today in this endeavour?
© Judith Lawrence, Originally written and posted in in a meditation for March 2008


Peter Black said...

Judith, thank you for this wonderful treatment of joy as fruit of the Spirit.
I especially appreciate that you show how our Lord Jesus epitomized it in His earthly life and ministry.

CBM said...

Thank God for joy. For the joy of the Lord shall be our stength.

Judith Lawrence said...

Thank you Peter and thank you CBM for your comments. It's always great to have a response to what one has written especially when it has struck a positive chord in the reader.

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