The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy

Just as trees produce certain fruits, Christians must produce certain qualities and characteristics.
These qualities and characteristics are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and are identified as “the fruit of the
Spirit.” The second fruit that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to produce is joy.
What is joy? I am afraid that we sometimes confuse joy with happiness. While the two are very
similar, there are some major differences. Happiness is based on circumstances in life; joy is not.
Happiness is temporary; joy is not. That is why Paul is able to say the following words in Philippians 4:4:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” For Christians, joy is not temporary and does not
fade in the midst of challenges; joy is a way of life that can be maintained at all times, regardless of the
difficulties a person might go through.

Joy is an everlasting way of life that transcends circumstance and is derived completely from a
person’s relationship with God. Jesus wants us to share in His joy: “These things I have spoken to you,
that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). As a result, as Christians, we find
our joy “in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1; 4:4). Even though we cannot see our Lord right now, we “believe
in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8). As Rick Warren says,
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that
ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

The New Testament has a lot to say about joy. We are to “count it all joy” when we encounter
various types of trials because we know that trials make us stronger and mold us into who God wants us
to be (James 1:2-4). We are to “rejoice and be glad” in the midst of persecution because our “reward is
great in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). We are to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). Worship
(Luke 24:52) and the preaching of God’s word (Acts 15:11) should cause joy to live in our hearts. We are
to pray for one another with joy, just as Paul prayed for the church at Rome in Romans 15:13: “May the
God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may
abound in hope.” Ultimately, we can rejoice because we have a home in heaven waiting for us when this
life is over; Jesus teaches to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

I love Mel Walker’s definition of joy: “Simply put, Biblical joy is choosing to respond to external
circumstances with inner contentment and satisfaction, because we know that God will use these
experiences to accomplish His work in and through our lives.” Biblical joy is a choice that we must make
every single day. What choice are we going to make today? What choice are we going to make tomorrow?
What choice are we going to make throughout this week? Through the empowerment of the Spirit, let’s
look to God and choose joy.

-Tyler Alverson


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