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Almond Joy

May 20, 2011

Almond Joy

 

Why is joy so hard to come by?

The root of the New Testament word for joy is a verb, meaning, in part, thrive. That word invokes early memories of a catch-all diagnosis for babies: failure to thrive. Are you failing to thrive in any area of your life?

What would give me joy, or an ability to thrive – continually grow, mature, and meet milestones? Wouldn’t you know, while listening to my children’s music (out of the mouth of babes and you must become like little children come to mind here) it came to me in the verses floating through our van:
“This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full. That your joy may be full, that your joy may be full…” – Based on John 15:9-12
v. 9, 11, & 12 say: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue in my love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.
Love is the breast milk that feeds joy. God is a Father who feeds us from his own breast: his heart. Without love, there is no joy, and that is a failure to thrive.
A Word about Love
The world makes love. Not really, but that’s what they call it sometimes. Do you know the parable of the house built upon sand? What happens when clouds of precipitation saturate the sand, or the storm winds blow? The slightest shift causes a crash every time. The world makes love out of the sands of affection. Love and affection are not the same thing; they are two very different foundations for building relationships.

Affection, like happiness, is based on receiving, circumstance, materialism, and it based in feelings.

Love is based on unconditional giving, commitment, sacrifice and its based in actions.

If “love” has meant nothing more than affection for you, joy will not grow in your life.
Almond Joy
Joy is not the same thing as happiness either. Happiness is like sugar for your soul. It makes you feel good, gives you a rush of euphoria, but then you come crashing down in an emotional chasm. There is no nutritional value in sugar, in fact it steals minerals and water from your body. With happiness, you are emotionally bloated for a time, and then spiritually devoid for a season. Happiness adds no spiritual value to your soul. If over indulged, it will begin to steal the components necessary for the joy of your salvation to thrive in your life. You become a diabetic of depression. Your soul can no longer administrate the highs and lows brought on by the overuse of happiness as well as a deficit of joy. You can’t buy enough, eat enough, or earn enough. You’ll never be satisfied with friends or relationships to sustain your emotional state. Joy is the sustenance of your mental, emotional, and spiritual balance; it is your spiritual insulin that combats the destruction of sugary happiness overload in your soul. Soulishness.
Think of all the people on insulin for their natural diabetic disease. What about the ones on medication for their spiritual glycemia? Joy has to come out from the shadows of our happiness addiction; then we can receive it for what it truly is: thriving, prospering, flourishing, increasing. Confusing joy with happiness is the cause of our own emotional and spiritual emaciation.
The Produce of Love and Joy
Look what love and joy produce here:
Galatians 5:22 – The fruit of the Spirit is – LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Notice, love comes first, then joy. I don’t think you can have much peace without love and joy not to mention the other fruit.
As Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, we should be exhibiting His fruit. We should be continually growing in wisdom and in favor – with God and with man – our revelation of God’s word and His Person should be continually progressing, our boldness in prayer and speaking the truth in love should be advancing, these are all signs of thriving spiritually – joy in the inmost parts. But, if we have not love, we are nothing but clanging symbols. And God doesn’t need symbolic produce, he desires fruit-filled trees – Oaks of Righteousness – displaying his splendor.

If you are desiring to thrive in your Christian walk, seek to choose to love the way God loves, and joy will soon follow and overflow into every area of your life. Your joy WILL BE full.

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