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Joy is the Second Fruit

Thursday’s are a day for my overflow in words.

A day when I’ve had a minute to think through the week and experienced enough to have formed some words to preach to myself… and as I speak into my own life, I share it with you because I want to share the hope…. We’re in this life together as sons and daughters of the living God ~ we have so much to learn from each others lives!

Thursday is a day that is far enough through the week to have made an impact in the world around you but still holds enough time to sow a seed of blessing through your life.

Thursday is a moment to reflect.

(If you are interested in how to be more intentional in truly pausing to reflect in a way that grows your faith and quietens the busyness, check out the Prayer of Examen which Pete Grieg talks about in His books and his blog. It's a prayer that walks you through 4 steps to Recall, Rejoice, Repent and Reboot.)

Back to talking about Thursdays... when I was younger, I remember a period of time when I didn't like Thursday's much. It was because I didn't have any dancing classes after school and I seem to remember each Thursday being especially rainy and miserable! I really just needed a perspective shift because although I couldn't do exactly what I loved every single day (who does?) I had the opportunity to have a cosy afternoon at home and do other fun things like baking, reading or having a playdate with a friend.

And now, many years later, Thursday are one of the only days during this season that I am able to actually get into a studio to take a ballet class and I am learning the value of perspective.

The value of the here and now.

The value of cultivating Joy no matter the circumstances.

So what does true joy look like?

It means to have Jesus at the centre of your life.

Because the reality is that our days on earth are not going to be filled with only wonderful things. There will be pockets of things that we really enjoy and moments we're with those we truly love... but there's many other things to our days and if we're not careful, we'll let them cloud our joy and we'll become Eeyore.

Amongst the bills to pay, floors to vaccum, meals to make, errands to run, there is so much that clutters our days...

Even the general workplace is shifting from a calling to pay checks and promotion.

So I took a moment to truly think about Joy.

Because I haven't felt a full abundance of it recently.

I know I have Jesus as Lord of my life, but why am I so down?

And I realised it's because I was letting what I see cloud over what God said.

I was letting the circumstances distract me from God's promises.

I was letting my feelings override who God says I am and why He says I am here.

I realised the hard truth that it had been my choice to look in the other direction from Joy and in that choosing, I allowed the enemy take room in my heart and shift my hope from the stable rock to an unshaken earthly situations.

As I reminded myself of my hearts motto, that my life is an overflow of my heart... I knew I needed to get my heart right again if I was going to overflow with the Love of God through my life.

So I thought of the Fruits of the Spirit, the key characteristics to a soft and pure heart following Jesus.

(Galatians 5vs22~26 NLT)

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another."

Do you see what I see?

Do you see that after LOVE (which is linked to the first commandment), JOY is the second fruit of the Spirit that's listed!!

Now I don't know what you think, but I serve a God who is unexplainably intentional... there is no part of Him that is 'by mistake' or 'just because'... everything has a purpose.

So if Joy is listed straight after Love in the fruits of the Spirit ~ what does this mean for us?

It means that God wants us to experience Joy in our lives. As we exude His love to others, we also live out of a Joyful Spirit which unlocks a peace to provide patience so that we can show kindness to others through good works to demonstrate our faith with gentleness, careful to put others before ourselves in love!

God wouldn't give us JOY through the Spirit if we weren't designed to experience it everyday.

But why does true joy feel so difficult in our time?

Because the enemy will always attack the things that God is planting in you.

The enemy is against us in many ways, but openly obvious in the fruits of the Spirit.

Because accessing these gifts takes intentional relationship with Jesus. It takes moments of being apart from the chaos and invested in prayer and worship. It takes accepting God will and asking from His joy to give us the strength for our lives.

It takes an intentional choice to unlock Joy.

Are you going to make the choice with me? Are you going to choose to sideline with Jesus and tear away the lies of the enemy.

Are you going to put blinkers to the spirit dampeners around you and fill yourself with so much Jesus that it literally overflows to others through your life?

Because that's why we believe isn't it? Because Jesus is too good to be kept contained. Because we have to tell others!

The longer I've lived in London, the more my heart breaks for the amount of joylessness around. My heart breaks for those who are living in darkness... the darkness of trying to be good enough, cool enough, smart enough, savvy enough, rich enough, titled enough.... when I look around I see people who don't feel enough and who don't feel their life is worth much.

And it breaks my heart because every single one of us is on a mission for the Lord, carrying a unique purpose and despite all we've done, we are loved beyond measure.

I think of Paul writing to the Philippians while he was sitting in a jail cell. He was in one of the worst positions, and yet he was initiating JOY in others!

(Philippians 4vs4 NIV)

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"

My prayer today is that I will be so intentionally invested in growing in Jesus myself that my life is a pure reflection of His Love and His Joy everywhere that I go.

I pray that even the littlest thing I do will show others that there is more to life than this, there is more to life than your trials....

Will you pray the same with me?

There is more to life because there is Joy

There is more to life because there is JESUS!

Don’t loose hope, you are a miracle. Look up and see the source of your miracle. Believe in Him and you will become everything your miracle was designed to be.

~ X ~

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