“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
This devotional is based on Kay Warren’s new book, “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough.”
As I told you a few days ago, joy doesn’t come naturally to my personality. I’ve struggled with low levels of depression for as long as I can remember. It has been easy to conclude that joy was simply not available to someone like me. It’s tempting for those of us with minor — or major — depression and discouragement to just forget about it and let the slap-happy people own joy.
There are volumes of material on personality and personality types and how they affect us, but I need it simpler. I’ve reduced all I’ve heard about personality types down to the “Winnie the Pooh School of Personalities.” Stay with me!
Tiggers: Tiggers are bouncy, flouncy, trouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! They bounce through life with a spring in their step. They laugh loudly at parties (I’ve decided they do everything loudly), they tell jokes, and they think everyone is their best friend. Even if they can’t remember your name, you’re their best friend. Of course, joy comes easily to them — right?
Winnie the Poohs: These gentle folks never get too excited about anything, but they usually have a pleasant look on their faces. They tend to have a hard time making up their minds about anything. They are usually happy to let someone else make the decisions. You ask them about going to lunch, and they respond with, “Oh, you decide.”
Rabbits: Rabbits are the task-masters of this world. Get it done, get it done right, and get it done now! Rabbits have a to-do list the size of Montana, and they don’t let much get in their way. They’re usually not the people you want to talk to if you’re having a rough day. They’re likely to tell you to “just deal with it.” Not so sure that rabbits experience much joy. If they do, it’s usually related to the completion of a task!
Eeyores: This is my favorite personality type. Eeyores are intense, serious people. They have their own personal, little rain cloud over their heads all the time. They feel things deeply and express things deeply. They get quite annoyed at all those stupid Tiggers who won’t stop smiling! Joy seems pretty elusive for the Eeyores of this world.
But that’s not what Scripture teaches us! Joy is for everyone, including Tiggers, Rabbits, Winnie the Poohs, and even gloomy old guys like Eeyore.
Joy is our birthright from the Holy Spirit. It comes from being connected to God. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (NIV).
That verse doesn’t say that joy is available for only those whose natural personality lends itself easily to feelings of joy. No, it implies that joy is available for all who are in Christ Jesus and whose lives are full of the Holy Spirit.
That gives me hope. It makes me want to keep going.
Talk About It --
Kay Warren co-founded Saddleback Church with her husband, Rick Warren, in Lake Forest, Calif. She is a passionate Bible teacher and respected advocate for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as orphaned and vulnerable children. Kay is the founder of Saddleback’s HIV/AIDS Initiative, author of “Say Yes to God,” and co-author of “Foundations,” the popular systematic theology course used by churches worldwide. She has three children and five grandchildren.