A devotional by Allison M. Wilson
Key Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB) and 1 Peter 1:8 (NASB)
Joy and happiness seem like they are synonymous, and in many ways they are, but there’s a reason God put joy in the Fruits of the Spirit rather than happiness. In the New Testament, joy is translated as “cheerfulness, calm delight.” In today’s culture, that is very different than “happy.”
How do we have joy? As we looked at last month, the Fruits of the Spirit aren’t just randomly ordered. God’s love must be the first thing we accept, allow it to change us and grow us to be more like Him. Joy is the next one on the list because it is an outflow of His love for us. Our acceptance of that love brings a cheerfulness and calm delight that we cannot manufacture on our own…at least, not for long.
As I write this, I’m sitting at my mother’s bedside hoping for her next breath, but longing for her suffering to be over and for her to enter Jesus’s rest. I’m not happy. I AM joyful. Why? Because happy tends to have to do with circumstances. Not always, but a lot of the time our emotions fluctuate due to circumstances around us. Joy is a constant if we will allow it. I’m not happy, but I am filled with the joy, the calm delight that my mom will soon know no pain. Joy only comes from the One constant we have…Christ.
We are at a wonderful hospice house. There are several families with whom God has given us a chance to interact. One such family watched their loved one go tonight. They were another believing family and know that their loved one is now resting in Jesus. Through the last few days, we’ve all shared food and some laughter during a difficult time. We have all had the calm delight and assurance of Christ’s love for us, as well as our family members who are going on before us.
God wants our hearts to be focused on the joy HE brings rather than things around us that are so temporary. The enemy wants to steal that joy with all the things or situations in front of us. Our hearts, set on the Father, will remain in perfect peace. That calm delight of God’s peace, especially during tough times, will be a beacon to those who are hurting in this dark world. They will want to know that joy for themselves. They’ll begin to seek out someone who allows the joy of the Lord to be their strength. Seeing how the joy doesn’t diminish with a hard trial will be so different than what they see from others that they can’t help but notice.
My Prayer: Daddy, we see too many things with our human eyes and miss so much You want to show us about Your joy. The joy of the Lord IS our strength, yet we ignore it for the earthly comforts of happiness. Show us Your better way. Give us Your eyes to see the joy You provide and how it will overwhelm even the darkest times in our lives, if we allow You to shine through. Make us instruments of Your joy to show the light to those who desperately need it. In Jesus Christ’s Name I pray, Amen.
A very early reader and lover of the written word, Allison M. Wilson has been writing since the age of 8 with the heart to impart stories and God's truth.
She has judged countless contests for the last 25 years, reviewed for several online publications, professionally edited, and written articles and devotionals.
Wife, mother, writer, editor, teacher, mentor, and mompreneur, God keeps her busy while living in east central Florida with her family.
Connect with Allison: