“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22–23, NLT).
When the clouds come in and life weighs heavy around us, it’s difficult to feel joy, much less to act joyful. As the new year begins, you may feel a bit of melancholy. Perhaps the finances are tighter this year. Maybe life has dealt some difficult blows in 2014. Or as the new year begins, you’re just not feeling a whole lot of hope for the future.
My friend, I’m here to tell you not to try to manufacture a feeling of joy—you’re only working against yourself. Life is tough, and if you’ve been facing great difficulty, you need not berate yourself for just not being in a joyful mood. I am here to encourage you, however, to reach deep down into your soul and discover that you already have a dose of joy there. If you are a Christian you have the Holy Spirit who promises that “the Holy Spirit produces” what you need—He produces joy. You see, joy is already there, deep in your heart. So whether you feel joyful is not the starting point. The starting point is to quietly sit before God and express to Him your deepest hurts and concerns and to ask Him to grow in you His fruit of joy.
If you do that today, you’ll find that your spirit will lift and your mood will lighten. Why? Because by seeking God and taking Him at His Word, you are trusting in His promises. And the more you trust, the more you comprehend that whatever is happening in your life is indeed part of His plan, it will result in good, it will give you a future and a hope. The promises, far from being stale or pat answers, are instead living and breathing promises that are true for you today.
Then say “Happy New Year” at the top of your lungs—and mean it!
Prayer: This is a new year, Lord, but I’m not sure how “new” things feel. Yet I know that, with You, all things are made new. Your Word promises that you make each day new. Remind me of that this morning as I continue my routine. Things may feel the same, but Your Spirit can fill me with joy.