Posted by Perry

Joh 16:20 Truly I say to you, You will be weeping and sorrowing, but the world will be glad: you will be sad, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.
Joh 16:21 When a woman is about to give birth she has sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she has given birth to the child, the pain is put out of her mind by the joy that a man has come into the world.
Joh 16:22 So you have sorrow now: but I will see you again, and your hearts will be glad, and no one will take away your joy.
Joh 16:23 And on that day you will put no questions to me. Truly I say to you, Whatever request you make to the Father, he will give it to you in my name.
Joh 16:24 Up to now you have made no request in my name: do so, and it will be answered, so that your hearts may be full of joy.

We tend to equate "happiness" with joy but they are two totally different ideas because they each spring from a different source. One comes from the world around me. The other originates directly from the Spirit of the Living God. Happiness is conditioned by and often dependent upon what is "happening" to me. If people treat me good, if things are going well in my life, then I'm happy. If my circumstances aren't favorable, then I'm unhappy.

Joy on the other hand, throbs throughout scripture as a profound, compelling quality of life that trancends the events and disasters which may overtake God's people. Joy is a divine dimension of living that is not shackled by circumstances. The word in the original language means, "to leap or spin around with pleasure."

To have the fruit of joy ripen in our lives is to recognize the journey involved in getting there. It takes time, diligence, patience, and hard work to make a grapevine produce grapes. Fruit is not instantaneous because it has to overcome weather, bugs, weeds, poor soil and neglect. Likewise, in our journey to joy we're faced with the waves of apathy, the currents of pessimism, the deluge of doubt and the waterfalls of despair. There is no way we can manufacture this fruit on our own.

If we want to see this fruit ripen in our lives, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to prune away whatever it is that hinders our joy and then empower us to make some choices that move us closer to a lifestyle of rejoicing. We need to guard against three common Joy Busters and we need to cultivate some Joy Builders into our lives.

JOY BUSTER #1: Unsatisfied Expectations - Do you ever feel like you're just going through some joyless routines in life? Do you have unsatisfied expectations concerning your marriage, kids, career or some other area of life? Discontentment can rob us of our joy. Paul said in Philippians 4:12 It is the same to me if I am looked down on or honoured; everywhere and in all things I have the secret of how to be full and how to go without food; how to have wealth and how to be in need. There's a mystery about it. He had to "learn" how to live with unsatisfied expectations. Contentment doesn't come when we have everything we want but when we want everything we have.

JOY BUSTER #2: Unresolved Conflicts - Our joy evaporates when we allow conflict between ourselves and another person to go on. Anger clouds the eyes of our heart and obscures our view of God, draining away our joy. The writer of Hebrews says, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

JOY BUSTER #3: Unconfessed Sin - Guilt can gut your joy faster than anything I know. Sin has the ability to send joy far away. King David writes in the Psalm about this very subject, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long...Then I acknowledged my sin to you...and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

We need to cultivate the following Joy Builders in our lives.

JOY BUILDER #1: Recognize God as Joyful - Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love."

JOY BUILDER #2: Rehearse God's Attributes in Worship - Psalm 66:1-4 Tell everyone on this earth to shout praises to God! Sing about his glorious name. Honor him with praises. Say to God, "Everything you do is fearsome, and your mighty power makes your enemies come crawling. You are worshiped by everyone! We all sing praises to you."

JOY BUILDER #3: Reaffirm Your Commitment to Others - Rom 12:15 When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. If you're not in fellowship with believers, your joy will leak out.

JOY BUILDER #4: Reignite Your Passion for Evangelism - Luke 15 records how much rejoicing takes place when the lost are found. [lost sheep, lost coin & lost son]

JOY BUILDER #5: Release You Problems to the Lord - Acts 16 gives the account of Paul and Silas being severely flogged and thrown into prison. In verse 25 they were "praying and singing hymns to God..." They turned a tough situation into an opportunity for rejoicing.

JOY BUILDER #6: Remain Close to Jesus - John 15:10,11 If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him. I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am.

Here's three steps to help you apply this lesson to your life:

1. Guard yourself against those joy busters that crash into your life like a tidal wave.

2. Identify one joy builder that you need to work on. Pick one that you are weak in.

3. Read through the short book of Philippians for a week. The word "joy" or "rejoice" is used 19 different times. As you read it, ask God to ripen the fruit of joy in your life.


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