Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Joy!

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener...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 apart from me. "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.... My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father. "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

From the Gospel of John, chapter 15

I'm home! I'll post soon about some of my experiences in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Yawn.....Meanwhile, I am up late trying to prepare for tomorrow morning's worship service. Everyone in church will receive a little bunch of grapes to eat, a sweet reminder of Jesus' words. Tomorrow we go on the the second in the list of the fruit of the Spirit, joy.

Joy is the hardest of the fruit to define--at least that is so for me. What is the joy that is overflowing? Without love, joy is impossible. Jesus makes that quite clear. It seems to me that if the Holy Spirit lives in me, the fruit begins to grow as a natural thing, not sometihng forced or contrived. Thus, if fruit is lacking, we must ask ourselves "What is the hinderence?" Perhaps the real issue is not figuring how to grow fruit, but simply finding how to remove anyting that blocks the natural process. What hinders the fruit of JOY?


D. P. said...

Welcome back! I missed you :-) I hope your vacation was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I missed you too! Can't wait to hear more about your vacation.
Re joy - I don't think, unfortunately, that present joy is everlasting but we can probably have much more of it than we're experiencing.
I do believe that joy is also a decision we make. "Be joyful always" (IThess?) is a command that indicates a conscious choice. Ps.118:24 "...we WILL rejoice and be glad in it." I sorta like that because it's how I try to live ...having DEFIANT joy no matter the circumstances. What hinders this fruit from full expression? Duty works (shoulds, ought to's), legalism, complicating simple issues, worry/fretting, anger, discontent (jealousy, envy). I guess the opposites are what would help release it - being led by the Spirit, living our freedom in Christ, living simply (not accumulating or doing too much), trusting God, being quick to forgive (yourself too), and learning contentment (appreciating every LITTLE thing just because there are so very many more of them than the bigger ones).
Well...thanks've led me into my mental/spiritual preparation for the day! (smile)