Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I want to talk about the second fruit of the spirit…JOY. So many times, we get this confused with happiness but the reference in this passage is much deeper than mere happiness. It is rooted in God and He is the source, it not about our circumstances.
Because joy comes from God, it is more stable than worldly happiness, which is merely emotional and lasts only for a time.
George Campbell Morgan wrote that “Joy is love’s consciousness.” Which makes sense that joy precedes love in the fruits of the Spirit in this passage.
One commentary states that on the spiritual level, joy refers to the extreme happiness with which the believer contemplates salvation and the bliss of the afterlife. Unexpected benefits from God are expressed in terms of common experiences. The psalms express the joyous mood of believers as they encounter God.
- Believers rejoice because God has surrounded them with His steadfast love (Psalm 32:11)
- and brought them to salvation (Psalm 40:16).
- David rejoices that God has delivered him from the hand of his enemies (Psalm 63:11).
- Joy is a response to God’s word (Psalm 119:14)
- and His reward to believers (Isaiah 65:14)
- and their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Again, these passages reveal that joy is a response to God and not an emotion to our situation. Love is a choice, so is Joy. We can choose Joy over our struggles.
How is it possible to remain joyful all the time? Paul gives us the key: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).
The key to the Christian’s joy is its source, which is the Lord. If Christ is in me and I am in Him, that relationship is not a sometimes experience. The Christian is always in the Lord and the Lord is always in the Christian, and that is always a reason for joy. Even if the Christian cannot rejoice in his circumstances, if he finds himself passing through pain, sorrow, or grief, he still can rejoice in Christ. We rejoice in the Lord, and since He never leaves us or forsakes us, we can rejoice always.
So how are you choosing joy in your life? What source are you looking to for joy? Is it God, your circumstances, your status, a relationship? It is a tough question to answer, but one worth asking daily and asking God to direct you to joy.