The Gift of Joy
July 5, 2016 Aly

The Gift of Joy

July 5 2016

Celeste Gonzales | Small Groups Hub Pastor | Celebration Church | Georgetown, TX

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Too often in today’s culture we hear statements like, “I deserve to be happy.” The truth, however, is that we desire to be joyful. That difference is important…

In our mid-20s, my husband and I were buried under a mountainous pile of debt. Between frivolous spending, medical bills, and life happenings, we were far past broke. We knew something had to change. After much discussion, we agreed on a very frugal budget that would, if we stuck to it, get us out of the horrible reality we lived in.

I remember a few months into our new budget, my husband got frustrated and said to me, “I work hard! I deserve to spend money when I want to.” I looked at him and replied, “No, you work hard and deserve to be debt free without any debtor holding us back from what God wants us to do!”

Happiness is like careless spending—it gives you a momentary thrill without any substance to provide for you during the difficult times. On the other hand, joy is like being debt free. You may have difficult times pull at your emotional wallet, but when joy is your currency, your spirit will sustain and even advance in life’s most painful moments. Happiness is temporary, but the Holy Spirit has given you a foundation on which you can build a prosperous life in the gift of joy.

I’ve seen mothers lose their sons, people walk through life-threatening diagnoses, marriages at the brink of divorce, but they not only prevailed, they advanced by using every potentially bankrupt moment as an opportunity to cash in on the joy of the Lord!

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord can be your strength through every season of life. Allow God to fill you with the gift of joy today. Don’t be moved by emotion, but be transformed by the goodness of God!

Thought: How often do we look at life’s circumstances instead of looking at God’s resources? It’s easy to focus on what your bank account says, the status of your relationship, or the negative environment you might be living in, but God always makes resources available to us if we just ask. Today, give God something to work with! Put on a worship CD while you drive to work. When your thoughts turn to the negative, speak the Word of God out loud and ask for His joy to take over.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, you are welcome in my life. Grow the fruit of joy inside me today! I give you my thoughts and ask that you give me yours—help me see beyond my circumstance and please you in everything I say, do and think! Thank you for your word and your promise of joy!

Amen.

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