Day 12: 2nd Sunday Celebration — Joy (March 12th)
Reading: Galatians 5:22–25
Here we are twelve days into our season of fasting and celebrating God’s goodness. When we think about Sundays being our day to break the fast and celebrate God’s provisions, there is a certain amount of joy and happiness that comes with that. Happiness, due to our being able to eat something we otherwise would be fasting the rest of the week for. There is also joy. This joy manifests itself as an assurance that we may not always understand. What we invest into will ultimately pay off in the end.
When setting goals in life, it is often because we are opposing a habit or trying to develop a discipline. If we are setting health goals, it can be set in motion due to bad eating habits we are trying to break or trying to develop a healthy lifestyle to simply feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Regardless of the reason for us kick-starting our goal, the process can be difficult. Working out and eating healthy can feel awkward because it is opposing what our habits have been. Most of the time when I am working out, I do not enjoy trying to catch my breath, or straining to lift more weight while my body is screaming, “NO!” However, after the workout, there is joy. Not because I have arrived, but because I have invested into what will pay off.
When we give the Holy Spirit control of our lives, it produces good fruit like joy. But this fruit of the spirit comes when we oppose what is our sinful nature. We learn to oppose a lifestyle that is destroying us; we oppose passions and desires that are not of God. By allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in every part of our lives we find joy from the investment we have made.
Joy is not based on our current situation. Joy looks to the future of what is to come. James speaks of finding joy in the trials that come our way. When we give the Holy Spirit complete control, we don’t bring trials upon ourselves because we are walking in step with God’s plan. Unfortunately, many of us find trials because we have stopped following the Spirit’s leading. So instead of trials coming our way, we create difficulties for ourselves. When you are in step with God, trials will come your way; this is to aid in your spiritual growth. This we can find joy in because we know what is to come. Let us invest spiritually, so that we may produce good fruit.
Prayer: God, will you allow me to give your Holy Spirit control of my life so that I may bear good fruit? Forgive me of the sin in my life. Help me daily to recognize the habits that I must nail to the cross. I long to live, grow, and walk in step with the leading of the Holy Spirit. I long to experience the joy the Spirit brings. Amen.