1. Love and Joy
“Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
We will begin our examination of the fruits of the spirit by considering the character quality of love.
Read Mark 12:28-31.
When Jesus was asked to state the greatest commandment, He responded with two commandments rather than one. What were they?
Proverbs 21:1 provides a beautiful word picture of the heart of a man who loves God. What does it say?
How would a man who loves God demonstrate that love? (Hint: note how Jesus said He demonstrated His love for God in John 14:31.)
It is very important for a wife to know that her husband loves her, as well.
Proverbs 15:17 implies that poverty with __________ is better than wealth with ____________.
What does Proverbs 27:5 say about hidden love?
What is hidden love?
A woman needs to hear a man’s love expressed to her in words and see it evidenced in his actions. Watch for words and actions that specifically communicate love to you when you are being courted by a man. If he expects them from you but does not give them to you in return, he is using you to build his ego rather than valuing you as a person.
Read Proverbs 31:28-29.
Now answer these questions about the man you are considering:
· Does he praise you when you do something well?
· Is he proud of you?
How does he show it?
The tone your husband sets in the home with his words to you will influence your children greatly. If he praises you, your children will follow his example. If he demeans you, so will the rest of the family. The words of a truly loving man will build you up, both privately and before other people.
Proverbs 27:4 brings to light a warning for any serious relationship. What does it say is worse than either wrath or anger?
This is not just referring to a man who does not trust you around other men, though that can certainly be one aspect of jealousy. What a woman more easily misses, however, is the danger of marrying a man who is jealous of her abilities or accomplishments, or of the attention she gets because of them. If he is prone to subtle put-downs (often disguised as “humor”) about your areas of strength or giftedness instead of praising you for them, or if he shows a total lack of interest in the things you do well, he may be revealing feelings of jealousy. This type of jealousy, or an extreme lack of trust in you around other men, are issues that you should talk through—either can seriously cripple a relationship.
Read Ephesians 5:25-28.
In this passage, the apostle Paul gives men an example of love that he calls them to imitate.
Jesus showed his love for the church by making it his responsibility to present her to himself without __________________________ but ___________________________ . (see verse 27)
Consider carefully how your boyfriend acts toward you and the things he urges you to do. Does he make it his responsibility to present you to God pure, holy, and blameless?
The godly bask in the light;
the morally upright experience joy. (Psalm 97:11)
Joy is an emotion that God himself experiences, and that He desires for us to experience, as well. Read Zephaniah 3:17.
What gives God joy?
How does He express that joy?
Not every man is prone to shouting when he feels joyful (though some will), but a man who is in proper relationship with God will experience the emotion of joy as a sense of well-being in his spirit and a delight in his God.
Read John 15:10-11.
What does Jesus say is the key for living a joyful life?
According to the following Proverbs, what are some of the things that should cause a godly man joy?
· Proverbs 5:18
· Proverbs 10:28
· Proverbs 12:20
· Proverbs 15:23
· Proverbs 21:15
· Proverbs 27:9
Now answer these questions about the man in whom you are interested:
· Does he find joy in you?
How does he show that?
· Does he find joy in the things he anticipates or hopes for?
What are they?
· Does he live a righteous life that God will bless?
· Does he find joy in promoting peace?
When have you seen this?
· Does he find joy in speaking appropriately?
What evidence do you see of this?
· Does he find joy in justice or fairness?
Is he fair in his actions and judgments?
· Does he find joy in things that please the physical senses?
What does he appreciate?
· Does he find joy in pleasant friends?
· Does he tend to withdraw from happy people and favor the company of complainers (or whiners)?
Read each of these Proverbs and write down the effects or results of joy.
· Proverbs 15:13
· Proverbs 15:15
· Proverbs 15:30
· Proverbs 17:22
Then answer these questions about the man in whom you are interested:
· Does he have a cheerful face?
Do his eyes “smile” when his mouth smiles?
· Does he complain much of the time, or is he more likely to find things to be happy about?
Does he often lead conversations to his complaints?
· Does he make other people happy?
How often does he laugh?
Does he make you happy?
· Is being with him good for your emotional health?
Why or why not?
· Knowing that emotions significantly affect physical health, what ultimate effect would living with him be likely to have on your physical health?
According to Scripture, joy is not an option for a Christian—it is a requirement.
In these verses, when does God want his people to be joyful?
· Deuteronomy 16:13-15
· Psalm 149:1-2
· Romans 12:15
· Habakkuk 3:17-18
· Romans 5:2-3
Joy is common at holiday festivities, in an assembly with other believers, and with acquaintances who have something to celebrate. But did the last two surprise you? We may not always feel a surface happiness when circumstances in our lives are painful or disappointing, but even in our sufferings we can experience a deep, stabilizing joy in our relationship with God.
Read Job 6:10.
Job was convinced that he could find consolation and joy in the midst of unrelenting pain by knowing what?
Read Philippians 3:1.
Why did the apostle Paul remind the believers in Philippi to rejoice in the Lord?
According to the following verses, how is rejoicing in God “a safeguard”?
· Nehemiah 8:10
· Psalm 4:7-8
· Psalm 45:7
· Romans 15:13
· 2 Corinthians 8:2
Be sure you see at least some evidence of joy in a man before you consider marrying him. This is a quality that will usually grow over time as a man gets to know God better and learns to trust Him more, but you should be able to detect at least the beginnings of it now. A man who rarely experiences joy will drain away your own joy over the course of time.