I was recently thumbing through one of my old sermon outline books when I ran across a message entitled “Realizing the Importance of Joy”. Since most of us don’t, I thought this might be a good time to give this some thought. In my notes I listed seven things that joy will do. Here’s the list: Joy excites us, energizes for service, encourages others, exemplifies Christ, exalts Christ, enhances our testimony, and edifies the church.
Now, I’m sure you can think of other benefits, but this serves to remind us of how important joy is. Yet, although we are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (Phil. 4:4), most people fail to consider the lack of it as a serious problem. Think about it. We often judge people by a lot of things–but seldom do we judge them by joy. Why? We judge others for numerous acts of disobedience, so why don’t we do the same when it comes to the absence of joy in their lives? Since the Bible commands us to be joyful we ought to see it as a serious problem if we aren’t joyful. We might not see it as a big deal, but God does.
Since joy is one of the graces the make up the fruit of the Spirit, its absence should be viewed as a problem in our life. It is an evidence that we aren’t filled with the Spirit, and that is absolutely tragic! If we aren’t controlled by the Spirit we’re out of control. Why would anyone willingly deprive themselves of all that the Spirit-filled life affords? God wants the very best for His children and the Holy Spirit provides what He offers. To refuse Him just doesn’t make sense.
Please don’t short change yourself. Don’t live beneath your privileges. Yield yourself to the Spirit’s control and He will produce all that God has promised. Under His control the impossible becomes possible. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. The Holy Spirit transforms us and enables us to reflect the likeness of Christ. Consider the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and think about the difference it would make in your life, in your family, in your relationships, and in the church. It could happen! You are the only person standing in the way. Let go, give up, give in, surrender to Him and be filled. Joy will follow.