But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ~Galatians 5:22 (NLT)
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~Henri Nouwen
I like color, so it’s not unusual for me to wear very colorful clothing. A couple of weeks ago, I was wearing a vivid multi-colored top with a pair of coral pants. While I was waiting in line to fill my cup at a fast-food restaurant, a gentleman came up behind me and said, “You look festive. Kind of like a smile exploded.”
That unique comment made my day. I could’t help but smile whenever I thought about it and I thought about it a lot. I wondered what it would be like for people to see a “smile that exploded” every time they looked at me, no matter what I was wearing. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be so filled with joy that it overflowed onto everyone I encountered? As I contemplated the idea, it seemed like a worthy goal. But, where does that kind of joy come from?
In Galatians, Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit produces a variety of fruit, and one of these is joy. Joy is one of the evidences of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If I open my heart to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide my life on a daily basis, than joy should be apparent and abundant in me. That joy should fill me to the point that it “explodes” onto everyone around me. The encounter with the gentleman in the restaurant could have been a nudge from God, reminding me that having joy overflowing is something I should be working toward everyday.
What do I need to do to make that kind of joy a reality? I need to be more disciplined in my study of Scripture and in my prayer life. I need to make time for daily devotions and encouraging conversations with others who are also seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit. And I need to understand what real joy is. The pursuit of real joy is something I have to choose. It comes when I have a personal relationship with God and when I am completely dependent on Him—when I let go of my will to make room for God’s will.
Joy is not the same as happiness. I can have joy when I am troubled. I can have joy when things aren’t going my way. I can have joy in the midst of grief. Real joy is not dependent on another person or on my circumstances. Real joy can’t be contained or hidden away. It has to pour out onto others. Real joy is contagious—encounters with joyful people lead others to want that kind of joy for themselves. And real joy provides a different world view.
Do you want to live a life with joy overflowing? I do, but it’s not an easy goal to reach. It requires a lot of faith and commitment. Let’s encourage each other as we take one step at a time toward a life of real joy. Let’s work our way to “smiles that explode” on everyone we meet.
Be blessed dear readers. Here are a couple of fun quotes you might like:
“A laugh is a smile that bursts.” ~Mary H. Waldrip
“The world always looks brighter from behind a smile.” ~Author unknown