The Pastor of our church (Parkview Community Church) has been teaching through Galatians "recently." We are in chapter 5 and the well known section of "the works of the flesh are (list of bad things) but he fruits of the spirit are..." I have been blessed by Ray's handling of this text.
Today's sermon was on the second fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is JOY.
I had a new perspective connection related to this, and the more I think about it the more simple it seems. But I have begun to realize that a life lived by the spirit will produce joy. I think I can unpack why this is a little more of a realization.
For most of us it is easy to connect some of the other fruits of the spirit with the life of the spirit. We talk a great deal about love displayed as we live by the Spirit. So much of caring for people in our community is motivated by the love of the Spirit. This is considered our primary reason for engagement. We point to scriptures like 1 Cor. 13 and point to the centrality of love as a motivation.
Patients, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control all have external components that are easier for us to look at them and say, "wow that girl is so kind, she must be walking in the Spirit." but I am not sure that 'seeing' someone joyful is as quickly connected with the life of the Spirit.
But joy is something that we should seek and something that is just as vital as a product of the life of the Spirit. Deep seated fulfillment and trust that God is in control is central to our experience of the Christian life. Piper has made great strides in bringing this to the attention of our generation. The joy that the life of the Spirit produces will carry us through hard times and is as central to the christian life as any of the other fruits of the spirit.