The Fruit Of The Spirit Is...Joy
Another aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5.22). It is essential to realise that joy, as the Bible speaks of it, is NOT happiness. The two do not equate. Happiness is dependent on ‘happenings’ or circumstances around me. As Spurgeon so eloquently states: ‘Happiness is somewhat insecure because it begins with a ‘hap’, and seems to depend on a chance which may happen to the soul. We say ‘happy-go lucky’, and that is very much the world’s happiness – it is a kind of thing that may hap and may not hap – but there is no hap in the fruit of the Spirit which is joy!’
What then is joy? It is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which is the result of knowing Christ as Saviour. Peter says ‘whom having not seen, ye love; in whom… ye rejoice with joy unspeakable.’ It is therefore possible that a believer, depending on their circumstances, may lose their happiness; it is right and proper for a believer to sorrow in times of trouble – BUT, a believer can never lose the deep-seated joy of their salvation in Christ. This truly is something the world cannot understand.
The Lord Jesus was characterised by joy. Heb. 12.2: Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. I suggest that this joy was, primarily, the joy of obedience to the Father’s will which led to Calvary (see Psa. 40.8). Beyond this, there was of course the prospect of fullness of joy at the Father’s right hand (Psa. 16.11). The Lord brought great joy to others. Isaiah notes that He gave ‘the oil of joy for mourning.’ His words brought joy as they all wondered at the gracious things He said (Luke 4.22). His works brought joy as He could say to paralytic man, ‘Son be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee’ (Matt. 9.2). I wonder if our daily activities bring joy to the Father and joy to others.
Have you noticed that some Christians seem to be more joyful than others? When the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples in the upper room He said: ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full’ (John 15.11). Do we know fullness of joy? The secret is abiding in Him and obedience to Him. Those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord through daily reading of the Scriptures, prayer and meditation are abiding. Those who make it their daily delight to keep the Lord’s commandments at any cost are being obedient. Read John 15 and rejoice in the Lord today!
Daniel Rudge is in fellowship with the assembly that meets in Bracknell Gospel Hall (UK) and with his wife is commended to full time preaching and teaching of the Word of God.