April 29, 2018
READ: Galatians 5:16-26
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (vv.22-23).
I love how joy can bubble up, unbidden. It can surprise me when I walk next to a gurgling brook or when I catch a glimpse of the faces of family and friends. Even when I fret about the friend whose feelings I’ve hurt, I can seek God’s help and peace as I release to Him my anxiety and receive the gift of His joy.
The apostle Paul listed joy as a fruit of the Spirit when he wrote to the church at Galatia because it’s something the Holy Spirit brings about in a believer’s life. Paul yearned that the Galatians would experience the Spirit’s grace, because many of them were being led astray by some who wanted them to adopt various rules and regulations (Galatians 1:6-7). He didn’t want them weighed down with requirements God hadn’t established; rather, he wanted them to live out of God’s freedom, which would result in the fruit He would bring to life within them: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (5:22-23).
We may think that Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit is exhaustive, but in naming the nine qualities, he was actually following a common Greek practice of outlining virtues and vices. He roots this list, however, in what God effects in His children, that is, how Christ living within them brings transformation and change (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We can’t demand or create joy from ourselves or from others. We can, however, ask God to give us His joy as we rest in His presence, have fellowship with others and look with wonder at His creation around us. And we can pray that as He cultivates in us His joy that this fruit would be something sweet and refreshing we can share with others.
—Amy Boucher Pye
365-day plan: Nehemiah 2:1-20
Read Colossians 3:1-15 for another of list of vices (vv.5-9) and virtues (vv.12-15), and compare them to Galatians 5. What strikes you as you examine them?
How have you experienced the gift—the fruit—of joy recently? How can you cultivate the soil of your life so that this fruit might flourish?