Ezer Equipped | Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Topics: Ezer, Ezer Equipped, Fruit Of The Spirit, Joy

Hello, and welcome to the May edition of Ezer Equipped! My name is Allie Black, I am a 23-year-old newlywed. This year, I have been learning what joy actually means, how it feels, and where to find it.

For the past few years, God’s mercy was easy to see and joy was tangible for me in many ways. But this year, joy has often felt unattainable. My husband and I graduated college, got married, started jobs, moved three times, had property stolen from us, and spent a month apart in the fall due to work travel. We had to adjust to a new city and a new church. We knew life wouldn’t be perfect, but the hard things seemed to outweigh the good. I wrongly assumed my joy and contentment would reach new heights in this season. But here is what the Lord has graciously revealed to me in what has been my most anxious and unfamiliar phase of life.

Joy is not happiness or positivity, but satisfaction in Christ in the face of hardship (Romans 15:13). True joy is tied to a believer's experience of Jesus’ redeeming work in our lives. Since God has rescued us from our worst problem through Christ, our souls can exude joy as we walk through the hard things of life. As an optimist, I’d come to associate joy with a positive attitude and a bubbly spirit. Scripture says otherwise—numerous Psalms record real people’s steadfast contentment in the Lord despite difficult circumstances and deeply sorrowful feelings (Psalm 23:4).

Joy is a choice—it is a muscle that we are commanded to use in response to the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice, victory, and work in us (Romans 12:12). God-given joy is a STRENGTH (Nehemiah 8:10), and it’s hard to maintain if we don't practice active reflection around the gospel. In my recent trials, choosing joy felt impossible at times. Through the lens of my own weakness, I have learned that no one can choose joy on their own. When I—through the work of the Holy Spirit—shift focus from my current situation to my eternal salvation, joy becomes more natural—even abundant to me. Praise God that he is not hard to find!

Whatever your season may be—facing death in the family, difficulty with finances, feeling isolation in raising children, or grasping for rest, know your joy can be found in Christ, and it is sufficient. Take heart, dear ones—LASTING joy is to come ( Philippians 4:4). There will be a day when sin, suffering, shame, and death will be no more—while we suffer in this life, our perfected joy awaits us, and it will be eternal!

Allie Black

For the Ezer Newsletter Team


Take a moment to read Luke 1:26–56 or listen here.

In this passage, we see Mary’s life upended in a way she could have never imagined. In a moment, she goes from following an acceptable path that should lead to stability to being seen in her culture as a sinful outcast. Verse 29 tells us she is “confused and disturbed,” as I’m sure many of us might be in her situation. And according to Matthew’s account of Mary’s story, Joseph considers breaking their engagement, which would have left her alone and without any means of support. Yet, in the midst of this turbulence, she chooses joy.

While reading this text, take some time to think about the rollercoaster of emotions Mary experiences in this season of her life, her role in God’s overarching plan of redemption, and how she chooses joy in the midst of it all.

Sarah Bailey

For the Ezer Newsletter Team


  • Why was Mary able to choose joy in the midst of uncertainty and disruption? How did her experience of God’s faithfulness in the past lead her to trust God in her current circumstances?
  • How can you pursue joy when you don’t feel it? Have you ever experienced a moment of worship in a difficult season like Mary?
  • What is your source of joy? What would it look like for you to seek satisfaction from God instead of earthly satisfaction (in parenting, relationships, work, achievements, comfort, etc.)?
  • Nehemiah 8:10 says that joy from the Lord is our strength. How can you use your joy to bring strength to others?

Whitney Maness

For the Ezer Newsletter Team