How to be joyful!

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5.22-23. Joy has always been a mystery to me. A quick internet search will reveal that joy is commanded all through the Bible, perhaps especially in the Psalms where “Rejoice in the Lord” is a repeated refrain. In the New Testament, God himself, in full manhood, doesn’t change his tune once he’s become the “man of sorrows” in our fallen world (Isaiah 53:3), but continues to command our joy, and gives us even more reason to rejoice. “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Hearing that joy is not optional can leave us feeling fraught with more condemnation than possibilities. So what are we to do to nurture joy through the ups and downs of life? Firstly, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and own up to how little we are truly joyful and ask our Father again and again, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation”(Ps.51:12). Secondly, to remember that if Jesus is in me and I am in Him, that relationship is not a “sometimes “experience, it is a constant, even through difficult circumstances. Thirdly, remember we are part of a body, Philemon 7 “Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people”. Thank God for friends who know how to “refresh the hearts of the saints” Bryan