Whit’s End: Love & Joy

Christian_diet_-_love_joy

Yesterday, we began our series on the fruit of the Spirit.  The Christian life boils down to letting Christ live inside of you.  Christ’s presence in our lives restores unto us a relationship that was broken through sin.  Jesus says that if we love him and obey his commands, that he and the Father will come and make their home inside us (John 14.23).  When that happens, we begin to exhibit some interesting characteristics???the fruit of a relationship with God.

The first two characteristics of the Spirit’s fruit are love and joy.  Love is the foundation of the Spirit’s life.  Because God is love, it  is only natural and appropriate that we would begin here and stay here (1 John 4.16).  Through God’s love, we are able to love him and others fully.  Human love will always fall short, but Godly love is complete (1 Corinthians 13.4???7).  As a Christian, we understand love to be fulfilled through loving God and loving neighbor (Mark 12).  When we stay in love with God (abiding or remaining, as the scriptures say), our next fruit is given birth to???joy.  

Joy is a natural product of love.  Joy can be understood as an unfailing hope and strength that surpasses good times and bad times.  Joy sustains.  The joy of the lord is quite literally our strength, something that has floated many, many people through hard times???deaths, illnesses, trials, and persecutions, etc.  The greatest example of joy comes in Jesus, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12.2).  The joy set before him was victory over sin and death, for both himself and the world.  Jesus was able to make all things right, which was a joy that both led him and pushed him through his passion.  That joy wasn’t something that could be taken away by the devil or the evil that exists.  We are called to such a joy, given such a joy, through a life with the Spirit.

Let these 2 characteristics take shape in your heart and life.  Let the Spirit live in you and may you bear much fruit.

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  ???John 15.8


Rev. Whit R. Martin
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church

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