Are you critical of people? Joy can be an antidote to strife in our relationships; joy encourages us to be kind and patient.
[Darris McNeely] Are you one who criticizes people? Probably. I've been critical of people. It's easy to fall into that trap, isn't it? When you get into a conversation with others, or you are offended by someone, or upset by someone other's actions or words, we can be very critical about people. That's a part of life. We have to deal with it. We should learn how to manage that, and hopefully, back off of that criticism and not let it be such a dominant part of our life.
But I've been thinking about that in regard to the concept of joy. I've been talking in a series here on BT Dailies about the fruit of God's Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×of joy. You're familiar with the listing there that begins that now the fruits of the Spirit are love and joy and peace, and it goes on. Joy's the second one. And joy comes right after love. And as I've been thinking about joy, looking at the way Paul is led by God to phrase that in Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×, love comes first. And we all know how important love is as it is mentioned throughout the scripture. The love of God, the love we are to have for one another, but joy comes right after that. And I wonder if there may be a meaning even in that placement. That joy is kind of, like, the fruit that kind of actuates or ignites the love that we are to have. And in this case, as I'm talking about our relationships with our brother, our sisters, human relationships to where we can have joy in a relationship with people because we look to the positive. We look with hope. We seek to encourage. We minimize the criticisms that are there.
And we actually actuate the fruit of love through the fruit of joy, and the two work together to help us to not only love God but love one another and our neighbor as God tells us to do and to take a certain joy in people. There's much teaching about this in scripture. There was one fact that I learned in looking at this topic, in looking at the scriptures that the word joy is actually missing in a Book of the Bible that we know as 1 Corinthians. Bible students know that 1 Corinthians is a letter that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and it's a very corrective letter.
A lot of problems there, doctrinal problems, problems they had with Paul, interpersonal problems, sin. And Paul goes through a number of chapters and he just hammers them and lists them and says, "You've gotta change." Joy is not mentioned in that Book. Paul wrote another letter called 2 Corinthians some time afterwards. And in it, he commends the church for their taking action on the steps that he told them to do and take in his first letter.
And in 2 Corinthians, the word joy is actually mentioned five times. Five times joy is mentioned in 2 Corinthians. Paul's relieved at their response. He's happy and he's not grumbling about them, and he's not correcting them the way that he did. And I think there's a lesson there. As we work with people, as we work with one another, be patient and kind, and seek to have joy, even in our interpersonal human relationships. We can then kind of pour some oil on troubled waters. We can smooth the way, remove the frictions that take place.
Paul in another location in Chapter 4 and verse 1 of the Book of Philippians, he says to the members of the church there, he says, "You are my joy and crown." My joy and crown, Philippians 4:1 Philippians 4:1Therefore, my brothers dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
American King James Version×. He saw them as the first fruits of God's plan of salvation. He saw them as people that he loved, who were responding to teaching and who had demonstrated the fruits of a Spirit-led life and mind, and he drew joy from that. And he calls them "My joy and my crown." But the heart of it is he saw God working with them.
And I think that's the key for us in having joy in our relationships and being less critical is to see God working with other people and to see them as children of God, potential heirs of the promises, and have a little bit more patience and seek to treat them with a bit more joy and respect. When we do that, and we know that God is not only working with our life, but He's working with other people, it can bring us to our knees to work out the problems that can come at times in the interpersonal relationships, in a church, in a congregation, in an organization, between families, family members, and help us to work through issues.
Joy can be that fruit of God's Spirit if we are actively engaging on it to help us to love one another as we are to do. To help us to love our church, to help us to love life, and certainly, to love God. Joy, in this way, can help us to turn strangers and, yes, even enemies, to people that we either respect or can love. And if not, you know, deeply love, at least tolerate and understand some of the problems they're dealing with and appreciate that and give it to God in that way and let God work it out. And in time, relationships can be mended, healed, and improved. But joy is a confident feeling that we see God working in other people's lives. And that's an important key to help us to understand and to appreciate that fruit of God's Spirit, which is joy.
When we do that, we come back around to scripture that I've been talking about here as kind of an anchor scripture in the series about joy, Psalms 30:4-6 Psalms 30:4-6  Sing to the LORD, O you saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
 For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
American King James Version×, where it says, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Verse 6 of that passage says this, "Now in my prosperity, I said, 'I shall never be moved.'" In my prosperity, I said, "I shall never be moved."
When joy comes in the morning, when we're actively engaged with that part of the fruit of God's Spirit of joy, then we can say that we will not be moved. We will not be moved away from a solid relationship with God that is being built now that will last for eternity. Joy is a key fruit of the Spirit of God. It's an important one to focus on, make sure that it's a part of our life. That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.