“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25
What is joy? I looked up the meaning for joy in the dictionary.
Joy means a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Things tend to rob our joy very quickly. It doesn’t take much.
“Joy robbing” circumstances are ever before us.
They could be things like:
Getting cut off in traffic
A facebook post
A sly remark from a friend or coworker
We strive for pleasure and joy. We live for it. We are always looking for things that will make us comfortable and happy.
We try to buy joy.
We look for it in relationships.
We hope to find it in achievements, positions, and promotions.
We seek it in the “likes” we get on social media.
But we are looking for joy in all the wrong places.
Sure, those things can give us happiness for a while. But they never last.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Satan doesn’t just take, he gives. He gives us false joy. He doesn’t want us to experience real joy so he distracts us. He plants his “junk food” joy before us and taunts us with it.
Everything we take in, affects us. What we watch on TV, affects us. The books and magazines we read, affects us. The voices and music we listen to, affects us. The friends we hang around, affects us.
There’s a song we used to sing at church when I was younger,“Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Oh be careful little ears what you hear…”
Proverbs 6:27 says, “Can a man take hot coals to his chest and not be burned?”
We fill up with “junk food” joy and then find that we are quickly empty again. So what do we do? We go out and fill up with more junk food.
I used to be addicted to television. It was a habit I justified. I just needed to unwind after a hard day at work. So I started watching programs I shouldn’t have been watching. TV shows that were showing inappropriate scenes and using inappropriate language. I thought it was okay. I could handle it. I didn’t think it affected me.
Then I started painting my living room. There wasn’t a TV in there so I began listening to sermons on podcasts. In one of Rick Warren’s sermons he asked: If you are thirsty, do you go outside and drink water from your gutter? Uh, heck no. Of course not. That’s ridiculous. But then he said that we do it with our minds all the time.
When we take garbage into our minds, garbage will come out. Garbage in–garbage out. But the same applies to truth. When we take truth into our minds, truth will come out. Truth in–truth out.
After several weeks of getting back into the Word, listening to podcasts, and renewing my mind with truth, I was flipping through the channels one night and saw one of my old TV shows on. I thought I’d catch up. About 2 minutes in, I started getting sick to my stomach with what I was seeing. It was garbage. Sinful garbage. I had become so desensitized to that stuff. I didn’t even realize it how much it had been affecting me. I realized that I couldn’t watch it anymore.
This type of “junk food” joy is ever before us. We live in a tough world. So many of Satan’s lies bombard us from every angle.
And we will not drift toward Godliness. If we drift toward anything, we will drift toward sin.
This fruit of the Spirit stuff isn’t just going to somehow magically happen. If we want to have true joy in our lives, then we will have to fight for it.
But the good news is, we do not fight alone. We have access to the Spirit’s power. But we have to learn how to PLUG into THAT power.
We have to be very intentional to fill up with truth.
We make choices every day with what we allow into our minds. Today, let’s choose to put down the “junk food” joy and fill up with the Giver of true joy. Take time to spend with Him in prayer and read His precious Word.
True joy is not based on circumstances or things. It’s based on a Person-Jesus Christ.