Updated: Apr 29, 2020
The soil of our hearts has been prepared for growth and if you missed last week’s blog on love, click here. We talked about the seed of the Fruit of the Spirit and the selfless love God wants to grow in us. He has chosen us to be vessels for his love, and through that love, we will produce joy and peace. We are the new garden that God tends to.
Before I knew God, I felt like my heart was a desert. I was lost, suicidal, abused, and broken. When I came to know him I was still those things but now I had access to the living water. A spring of life before me and he asked that I partake, so I did. Over time he healed me. As he healed me I grew stronger, my depression lessened, until one day it was gone. I pursued joy, I didn’t hope that it might happen but I dove into joy to get away from my desert. I found verses that proclaimed the joy God planted in my heart.
28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Proverbs 10:28 NIV
Proverbs 10:28 spoke to who I was and who God has for me to be. Without him I felt like nothing, I lived for nothing. But with him, I have everything! I have a father who loves me, a hope for my future past what I could imagine. With him, I was free from the lies that had been holding me back. When I started to pursue righteousness, which means a right relationship with God, joy started to grow. I now know that God loves me, that he sees far more than I do. My joy is in knowing the King of Kings who sees my future and tells me to rejoice and be glad in it. That each day I have can be his, I need to only drink from the well.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 ESV
I would like to tell you that the roots of joy grew so deep within my heart and nothing could hinder joy form flourishing, but that would be a lie. Joy is a Fruit of the Spirit that is dependant on growth from the source, the Holy Spirit. I have, over the years, lost focus on God and his promises and I have allowed my circumstances to dictate my joy. I stopped seeking the Holy Spirit. My circumstances and my will could not produce joy, I needed the God that lives in me. I needed time with Him but I would avoid Him because of my pain. James 1:2-3 has become a verse that I have come to know and learn from.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:2-3 NIV
Perseverance, I would have to persevere through life, even when the unthinkable came against me. I have faced many trials over the last 19 years of knowing the Lord, each has taught me in its time. Each has brought me new insight and a new perspective. When I want to give up, I look back and count it all as joy that God has loved me through the years. He has healed me of broken bones, blood conditions, self-loathing, and more.
Chara is the Greek word for joy, meaning a strong inner sense of gladness that is not based on circumstances, but on the love, grace, blessings, promises, and nearness of God that belongs to those that follow Christ.
God has been near to me in all I have gone through, even when I have wanted to hide. Joy comes from spending time with God and in His Love. When we know that we are deeply loved, then we can make it through any circumstance. Even when we have to feel pain, grieve, and fight for our lives. We can have joy knowing that even if we suffer now, Jesus has paid for our eternity. We have access to the living water and we no longer need to wonder about the desert. He wants to be with us forever, I may not see Him but I know he is there. I know that in him I am securely planted.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV
My soul, the essence of who I am is saved. I have joy knowing that when I die I will not be left in blackness but in glorious light. I have joy knowing that God has done everything to make sure I am in the light of his presence. I have joy because I know I am an eternal being meant to live on with the God who created me to love and be loved.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
The Greek word for peace is, eirene, it is an inner calm and contentment based on the knowledge that one is in the right relationship with God and that God has everything under control. Jeremiah 29 gives me hope, knowing God has a plan for my life. If I walk in Him and in a right relationship with Him, I will see that plan come to pass. I have peace knowing that I know Jesus.
Knowing God doesn’t mean we just know he exists but we know him as father, friend, spouse, and savior. We are acquainted with him and that closeness brings peace. There have been times, just like with joy, that I have lost all peace. Each time it happens because I lose focus on the King. I walk away from the well of living water. Philippian 4 is a reminder of how to keep our joy and peace.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
Verse 4 says to rejoice, we have to make the choice to act. Take the time to remember what He has done and to seek Him through the struggle. Then God says you will have peace, but first, there are a few steps to take:
Recognize that you are anxious
Go to Him and pray, talk to him about what is happening.
Ask God for what you need, petition your heart’s desires before him.
Thank him for what he will do and what he has done.
Verse 7 says that He WILL guard our hearts and mind with peace. A peace that transcends all understanding. When we have the peace that grows from the Fruit of the Spirit, it is a peace people around us won’t understand. We will reflect Jesus instead of the world.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:3 NIV
In light of recent times, I would like to clarify that you can have joy and peace and not be okay with what is happening. Being planted by the stream means we are being taken care of by God, but we can still see the heat around us. Our joy and peace come from God, not what we are going through. I have joy knowing that God loves me and seeks my love. I have peace knowing I have a future God has promised me. That doesn’t me I am okay with being away from family and friends. We can have peace and joy and not be okay with what is happening in our broken world. God’s heart hurts for the lives that are being lost and the hardship that is happening. He asks us to seek him so that we can make it through. The world is broken and broken things will keep happening until Jesus renews the Earth. We have to rely on God while we are here, that we would be in the right relationship with God and growing in the Fruit of the Spirit.
Remember the seed of the Fruit of the Spirit grows through our time with God, reading his word, praying, and stepping out in faith. Joy and peace are grown in the garden of our hearts, even in hard times, we only need to invite the gardener in.
Please join us for the next 4 weeks as we study the Fruit of the Spirit.
Mondays will be when our newest blog post and video come out. Each week of this study I will be giving away a Bibe journaling Box reflecting the current week's Fruit. To enter to win head over to our Instagram, click here.
To purchase a Bible Journaling Box, click here. Each box is $15 off right now with free shipping. I would love to send you a custom journaling box and a new Journal.
Wednesday mornings I will be hosting an early morning Zoom session to talk about the current Fruit, give encouragement, and for you to ask any question you may have. This will be at 6:30 am and you will be able to find all the login information in our Facebook group, “Beauty Beyond Eden Bible Study,” click here.
Friday evenings we will have a Facebook live at 7:00 pm where I will be answering questions and connecting. I will also be announcing the winner of our Bible Journaling Box giveaway. Don't miss it, click here.
Thank You for joining me this week, I appreciate your time and I will be praying that God grows Joy and Peace in your heart this week.
Founder and Director of Beauty Beyond Eden
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