Welcome to “Front Porch Bible Study Series. We are beginning our study of the second Fruit of the Spirit–JOY. This month we will discover the place where JOY lives deep in our spirits, waiting to be mined out, like precious diamonds. Let’s go mining today for this priceless gift from God!
Memory Verse: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV).
Let’s begin with a word study. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of happiness is “A state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”
Happiness lives in our souls and is based on fickle feelings, emotions, and changing circumstances. This temporary fix is the best the world can offer.
JOY, on the other hand, doesn’t come from the world. God lovingly plants it in our spirits the moment we become His through salvation.
Just as our salvation is permanent, so is our JOY.
In today’s reading, the prophet Habakkuk cries out to God over witnessing the dreaded arrival of the Chaldeans, godless destroyers who have come to conquer and plunder Israel. He pleads with God over how long God will look on evil and not do anything to stop it (Habakkuk 1:2-4; 12-17 NKJV).
God’s response is that He is in control of evil and not to fret. In time, they (the Chaldeans) will pay the price. (1:11). The Lord declares to Habakkuk that
the day of retribution will certainly come, as it’s an appointed time for which to patiently wait. In the meantime, the righteous should live by their faith. (Habakkuk 2: 2-4 NKJV).
Have you ever had your life torn apart unexpectedly? I have. Whether it’s losing a marriage, a child or loved one, a job, career, or finances, we can go into a tailspin, paralleling Israel’s suffering.
We cry out for God’s justice, mercy, and His hand to reverse our situation. We plead with our God, who is too holy to look on evil, and ask Him how He can allow these things to happen.
What should our response to God be?
The answer is the secret to finding JOY during our trials .
Let’s meditate on Habakkuk’s ending prayer:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV).
No matter our circumstances, JOY is planted deep in our spirits. Like Habakkuk, we can mine JOY out of our salvation and rejoice in the Lord–in spite of the trials we experience. God will make us sure-footed and guide us safely along narrow, mountainous paths. Isn’t God so good!
Can you rejoice in your trials?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Let us remember that our lives aren’t spiraling out of control when we face trials, but You are at the helm. May we trust You and not despair. Teach us to choose to rejoice in our trials and to draw joy from our wells of salvation. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.