Art and Val Harju | The Voice of Zion April 2023 - Home and Family Article --
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. – Gal. 5:22,23
There is joy in believing. When our sins are forgiven, we have peace of conscience. Peace comes when matters are right with God and we are acceptable to Him. Joy comes into our heart when we have peace. Joy is a gift and a blessing from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit that lives in the heart of believers.
There is joy in serving others. When we have been asked to serve in some way, we often feel doubts and unwillingness – certainly someone else would be better at this. But when we try to put these thoughts aside and do what has been asked, we find that it is good. Joy comes when we realize that others have benefitted from our service. We have experienced this by helping and giving to others who have experienced the same trials as we have. It is humbling to be on the receiving end of others giving. We might receive meals and other help during difficult times. This is how it was for us when our son was diagnosed with cancer. As we look back at this difficult time in our lives, we wonder how we would have made it without the help of our congregation, members of our community and our families. Knowing how help is appreciated, it has felt good to volunteer and help others in our community and church who are experiencing trials.
There is joy in gathering with other believers. It is comforting and feels secure to sit in our bench at services and sing and listen to the service, and then visit with others after. God’s kingdom is a blessing that He has placed on earth for us. It is a secure home where we can be with fellow travelers. We are not alone in God’s kingdom. Surely there are others who have experienced similar trials and difficulties and also similar joys.
A joy in our life is that God blessed us with children. They have all grown into adults and gone their way. Some of them have families of their own and God has given us grandchildren. Our children come home often, and we have found that the best times for us are when our family is together. We are thankful that God has preserved each of them in living faith; we can only thank God for this blessing. We know this is not the case in all families. The enemy has been able to entice dear children away from living faith, and this has brought sorrow. We want to pray that God would call those outside of His kingdom, especially those loved ones, that they could return.
Sin comes daily, stealing joy on the journey, in our thoughts and words and deeds. We carry this sin-corrupt flesh, and we will have to carry it as long as we live. With sin, the enemy tries to steal away joy from our heart. When this happens, it’s easy to become angry and lose patience with each other. Then too, we have this pride that doesn’t let us admit that I am the one who is wrong. Fortunately, God gives strength to put sin away in the name and blood of Jesus. Peace returns. God has preserved us to this day by His grace.
Far above all other blessings, now today I thank You, Lord, that Your wondrous grace suffices, carries with the blessing Word. In Your kingdom I behold glimmers of that joy untold. Guide my way to heaven, ever keep me as Your child, dear Father. – SHZ 430:4
In our homes, we experience joy in fellowship with family members. How can we foster relationships that don’t dim the joy we find in one another?
Joy comes to us when we have sins forgiven. Why might we wish to express this by serving others?
There is a cycle: Joy that sins are forgiven, serving others, more joy. Discuss how this might be in your life.
How can a congregation create opportunities for more to serve at church? Why is it important to allow others to serve, even when it might be easier to do it ourselves?
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in maintaining joy in our lives?