God At Work Through IM

"The Fruit of the Spirit is... Joy."

"The Fruit of the Spirit is... Joy."

Like other emotions, joy is often evident in what someone says or does. And sometimes, you can actually see the joy in another person’s heart and soul

Nearly two years ago, I began meeting with Jason, an inmate at one of Wisconsin’s prisons. Another inmate on Jason’s housing unit encouraged him to request a pastoral visit with me. And that’s what Jason did.

We spent the first several weeks searching the Scriptures for God’s answers to Jason’s many questions. And when I suggested to Jason that we begin a more thorough study of the most important teachings of God’s Word, Jason quickly said “Yes!” to my offer. This past July, we completed that study and I had the privilege of receiving Jason as a communicant member of the WELS through the Rite of Adult Confirmation. To say that Jason was happy would be an understatement!

But he was even happier a few weeks later when he received the Lord’s Supper for the very first time in his life. He smiled warmly as tears of joy filled his eyes, joyful tears which were followed by a soft “Thank you, pastor.” My eyes also began to fill with tears of joy, and I thanked the Holy Spirit for his work in Jason’s heart and mine too.

I am continuing to meet with Jason each week as he looks forward to his release from prison in early 2020. He plans to join one of our WELS congregations in the town in which he will most likely live. He will continue to hear and learn God’s Word at that congregation. With God’s blessing, Jason’s son will also be learning about his Savior, Jesus at the congregation’s preschool. And joy will be the blessed fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work!


Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit along with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. When I teach this to guys sitting in jail, I tell them, “This is it. These are your options. This is what your attitude needs to be in any and every situation.” I don’t get a lot of ‘Amens’ to that. More often I get, “That can’t work here, or there. You don’t know what you are talking about.” Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, but maybe, just maybe God does? What will it take for you to trust him? What is it that gets in the way of trust? Fear, anxiety? Cast all your anxiety on the LORD (1 Peter 5:7) and receive the “peace which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Then your gentleness can be evident to all.

Ministry Behind the Walls

Institutional Ministries is a nonprofit organization established in 1901 that carries out behind-the-walls ministry by shining the light of Jesus’ love into hearts.