Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.”
You may have heard about the fruit of the Spirit and wondered what it is and how it relates to our Christian faith. In this series, each fruit will be explored and related to our everyday lives. Just like physical fruits need time to grow, the fruit of the Spirit will not ripen in our lives overnight. As we mature in our faith, all the characteristics of our spiritual fruits will grow as well.
The second fruit of the Spirit is joy. The word ‘joy’ appears nearly 200 times in the Bible, which helps us understand just how important this second sweet fruit of the Spirit really is. Joy is a condition of the heart.
People often confuse joy with happiness, but they are not interchangeable. Joy is from within, regardless of what is going on around you. Happiness can be a blurred emotion, dependent on a situation. Joyful people make a commitment to gratitude regardless of the circumstances.
In Greek, the word for joy is ‘chara.’ This describes a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. This inner gladness leads to a cheerful heart and a cheerful heart leads to cheerful behavior.
The most important attribute of joy is that you can find joy in adversity. This can be a difficult idea to grasp, because joy might be the last thing we are feeling when facing struggles. God knows our sorrows, heartaches and fears and He calls us to rejoice anyway. He wants us to live a life full of joy and promise.
Particularly in these difficult times we are facing during the worldwide pandemic, it may seem difficult to be joyful. Our lives have changed, and we are facing adversity that is unprecedented. Certainly, many of us are not happy. But, joy is an internal experience, and even through our own unhappy circumstances, we can find joy in the midst of the storm with our faith in God.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” – Psalms 30:5.
“For the joy of the LORD is your strength,” – Nehemiah 8:10.