When I think of the meaning of joy,  there are many things that come to mind. A baby in a fit of giggles. Christmas morning. A proposal. A new puppy. A surprise party. A fun wedding dance. The expression on a person’s face experiencing it is telling of their blissful state. What I love about joy is that it’s contagious. Once someone gets the giggles, it’s not long before those near bust out themselves.

There’s a different kind of joy in Jesus. One that cannot compare to any other pleasure we feel this side of Heaven.

It’s the joy found in His presence. 

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” – Psalm 16:11

Not just a taste…not just a hint…but fullness of joy is ours when we are in His presence. He is a god of abundance…He lavishes His love upon us…how can that not bring joy? David spoke of this joy much throughout Psalms. The presence of God was so vital in his life that He begged God to never let it leave.

“Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:11

The presence of God, the Holy Spirit, is the most exquisite thing you will ever experience. There have been certain moments in my life where I have felt Him so strongly & so intensely that I truly thought I would melt into a gooey puddle. I didn’t want to leave because of the overwhelming love, peace & joy I felt. Jesus made a way for us to experience Him at anytime when He gave Himself up for our sins. When you sense Him near, you just can’t help yourself.

This is where the difference between religion & relationship become obvious. Religion is the furthest thing from joyful. There’s no passion, no spark. Relationship bears witness of His character. Relationship is a yearning to be with Him instead of it being a chore or task. Relationship knows their God as a close friend, a confidante.  It is in those moments when you have realized who He is and what you are to Him that the joy comes. Joy cannot be experienced in a rigid environment. It flourishes in an atmosphere of love.

When you are in His presence, His voice can be heard. To hear the Lover of our soul whisper to us & and that He wants to know us just as much…wow.

He is the root of all joy. Get in His presence frequently and I assure you, you will start to bear this fruit without much effort.

“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” – John 3:29

“Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.” 1 Chronicles 16:27

“Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. Come in before his presence with exceeding great joy.”  – Psalm 100:2

“For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.” Psalm 21:6


Sibling Rivalry

“Deliver me from my hateful thoughts…I’m committing murder in the presence of God.” –  “Deliver Me” by Bethany Dillon 

When I first heard these lyrics, it caught me off guard. It’s not often you hear the word ‘murder’ in a worship song. As I replayed it, I understood the reason for this intense analogy.

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” – 1 John 3:11

From the beginning, we’ve been fighting with our siblings. When we try to justify our reasons for feeling this way towards another child of God, do you know what we sound like? A child trying to make excuses for their actions against their sibling. Can you just hear it now? “But Mom…they did it first!” 

There is no room for division in God’s family. He did not create us for broken homes. His intention in adopting us into the family of God is for us to never encounter dissension again and to live in complete harmony. He created us to fellowship with one another, not quarrel. When we allow hurt feelings, jealousy, or bitterness to take over, we leave a door wide open to the enemy to tear down our home.

“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” – Mark 3:24

A healthy, stable and loving family is God’s desire. One who strives for peace, for harmony. Let’s do all we can to please our Father.

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:14

Study Scriptures

1 John 3:11-24

1 John 4:7-21

Loving the Unlovables

Loving the unlovables. That’s the hardest part, isn’t it? Loving those who are difficult to love. That can apply to many different types of people in each of our lives. May I list a few?

  • The arch enemies
  • The instigators
  • The opinionated
  • The drama queens
  • The judgmentals
  • The gossips

Those are the obvious ones, though. There are others that are closer to home. 

  • Our spouse…or ex-spouse
  • Our in-laws
  • Our siblings
  • Our parents

Maybe these bleed into one another, but we will eventually come across difficult people in our walk on earth. The question is how do we abide in love in these situations? 

Pray and Read God’s Word

This sounds simple, but it’s the most effective way to learn God’s ways. He will speak to you through the Word. Partner that with prayer (conversing with God), and He will speak to you, and teach you how to walk in the Spirit.

Realize that you yourself are unlovable at times

I think I just heard alot of gasps as I typed this. I know, it’s shocking! (haha) But we must hold ourselves accountable. Minimizing our own sins in comparison holds no ground and is not what God had in mind.  

“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” – Ecclesiastes 7:21

Look at them through God’s eyes

John 2:25 states that Jesus knew what was in man. He knew human nature. Noone’s actions surprised Him, not even when they betrayed Him. Even after Peter denied Him 3 times…He STILL was merciful. Even in our sinful state…God chose us. Knowing full well that we would deny & crucify Him, He came for us anyway. What did He see in us that moved Him to be so selfless and loving in the face of our sin? His nature is love. He can’t help BUT to love us. So we must use look others from the His point of view. James 3:9 states that we curse those made in God’s likeness. The unlovables are still creations of our God…and loved by Him just as much as we are. If He loves them, who are we not to?

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:32

Yield to the Holy Spirit and surrender

As I was walking through my house yesterday, the Holy Spirit highlighted a phrase from a sign on my walls: 



This sign has been up since the week we moved in, but it was so confirming for me, considering last week this was the focus (abiding in Love). Since God is love, I translate it to “Let God abide.” But what sticks out to me in this is the word ‘Let’. Loving the way God does not come easy, nor can we do it ourselves. It means making room for Him to love through us. It means surrendering & yielding to Him so that His love can flow. It means letting Him take over. 



“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” – Luke 6:27


“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

Abide in Love

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Since the beginning, it’s been about love.

  • He formed us to love us, not as a science experiment
  • He warned Adam out of love, not to keep anything from him
  • He parted the Red Sea out of love, not to show off
  • He poured manna from Heaven out of love, even though we grumbled while chewing
  • He thought of the Cross out of love, though He knew some would politely decline

There is much emphasis put on love throughout His word. It’s the first fruit of the Spirit mentioned. Out of faith, hope & love, it’s proclaimed as the greatest. God even declares Himself AS love.

Since we are created in His image, you know what that means. We are called to love as well. Better yet, we are called to love like Him. Is that even possible? Somewhat, yes. The intensity of our love could never come close. However, we can choose to mirror His style of loving & allow Him to love through us.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” – 1 John 4

There’s that word again…abide. That has been a theme each time I’ve studied fruit of the Spirit. Abide means to dwell, remain, or sojourn. The image that comes to mind is a baby bird under the wing of it’s mother. It is there in that secret place that He transforms us. It is in the abiding that we began to look like Jesus. The fruit begins to grow, and we start to flourish.

Love comes from abiding in Love Himself. 


Lead Me

This week has been full of confirmation. The Holy Spirit loves to confirm when we are on the right path, and encourage us to keep going.

Ever since beginning the study on the Fruits of the Spirit, I have felt Jesus dropping breadcrumbs for me…everyday, He is showing me where to go next. I will be honest…it takes some surrender and stillness on my part to be still & listen. I have to quiet my soul. But He never fails to speak. His method of getting my attention changes. He loves to keep it interesting.

For those of you studying with me, I hope that you’re finding the breadcrumbs. We may be on different paths, some rockier than others. But they are there. Don’t rush ahead, because you may miss them. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having a hard time seeing them. Pause…look harder. Use your flashlight, the Word of God. It’s the only Light strong enough to find them. And don’t give up

Speaking of pausing, let’s pause to worship the One leading us…


“God loves us just as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way.”

From the moment the Holy Spirit makes His home in your heart, He begins a work in you.

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” – Romans 6:22

Sanctification is the process of becoming holy. It prepares us for the Day that we come face to face with the Holy One Himself. The end result? To bear the Family resemblance.

If we were to look in a mirror right now, we would see ourselves…flawed, imperfect, but saved. What we don’t see is the inner work of the Holy Spirit that is changing us from the inside out.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” – 1 Corinthians 15:49

There’s no instant gratification along this journey. Holiness takes time. Fruit doesn’t appear overnight. We must be patient with ourselves during growth. The end result will be worth the wait.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12

Why Fruit?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22

Throughout the Bible, emphasis is put on the importance of bearing fruit. There is no doubt that these are lovely traits to have, regardless of your faith. But as a follower of Jesus, we are called to pursue them wholeheartedly.

But, why are these traits called “fruit”? Why not good habits, or best practices? Why not use laymen’s terms?

He always has a reason. Psalms & Jeremiah shed some light:

 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORDand on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:8

Do you see the common thread here? We are likened to trees…rooted, flourishing, and bearing fruit. That is, if we are trusting, delighting, and abiding in the Lord.

Study Scripture: John 15

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”