By Gary D. Erickson
A. Joy is the experience of gladness, delight, pleasure, or bliss. It is often invoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.
1. The Christian has been promised joy unlike the joy of the world. It is not produced by outside circumstances but by a relationship with God.
2. As a fruit of the Spirit, joy is grown by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
a. The fruit tree does not strain, to produce fruit. It naturally drinks in the sunshine and nutrients from the soil through the roots and grows fruit. It is the life within the tree that gives it power to produce fruit. The Christian should allow the indwelling Spirit of God produce this fruit of joy.
3. Joy is a natural product of a well-fed, well-balanced, and sincere Christian.
4. Joy is not the same as pleasure or happiness. A wicked and evil man may have pleasure, while any ordinary mortal is capable of being happy. Pleasure generally comes from things, and always through the senses; happiness comes from humans through fellowship. Joy comes from loving God and neighbors. Pleasure is quick and violent, like a flash of lightening. Joy is steady and abiding, like a fixed star. Pleasure depends on external circumstances, such as money, food, travel, etc. Joy is independent of them, for it comes from a good conscience and love of God. – Fulton Sheen, Fulton J. Sheen’s Guide to Contentment, 1967, p. 120.
B. One can endure sorrow alone, but it takes two to be glad. – Elbert Hubbard
C. Joys divided are increased. — Josiah Holland II. JOY IN THE BIBLE:
II. Joy In The Bible
A. There are many words in the original languages of the Bible translated joy in the KJV.
1. There are eleven OT Hebrew words for joy. Here is a brief review:
a. Most of the Hebrew words simply mean to be joyful — to be glad.
b. Rinnah means to shout for joy with singing (Psalm 30:5; 42:4; 126:5).
c. Gil or gul means joy that is expressed with gestures of the body — to leap or spin around with pleasure (Habakkuk 3:18; Zephaniah 3:17).
d. Teruah means to make a loud noise, to shout for joy (Job 33:26; Psalm 27:6).
2. There are nine NT Greek words for joy:
a. Chara is the most frequently used word which simply means joy or delight.
b. Skirtao means to leap for joy (Luke 6:23).
c. Kauchaomai means to boast (Romans 5: 11).
B. The Hebrews celebrated the joys of family life, marriage, the birth of children, harvest season, Sabbaths, feasts, and festivals. Dancing was an appropriate celebration of joy in worship (Psalm 149:2; II Samuel 6: 14).
C. The birth of Jesus was described in these words: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2: 10-11).
1. In His farewell address, Jesus promised his followers joy (John 15: 11; 16:24; 17: 13).
2. The resurrection was announced with joy (Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:52).
D. Conclusion: God delights in joy. It is right to find joy in wholesome events of life (nature, celebrations, family, friends, events, and so forth). The greatest joy is delight in the Lord!
III. Three Types Of Joy:
A. Natural joy: This is delight resulting from the favorable circumstances at the present and the optimism of a positive future.
B. Moral joy: The joy that arises from the performance of good actions. It could be described as peace, or serenity of conscience.
C. Spiritual joy: It is called a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This is a Spirit-induced joy that transcends the circumstances of life.
IV. Three Sources Of Joy:
A. God Himself is the source of joy:
1. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, a God my God (Psalm 43:4).
2. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61 :10).
B. The promises of God are a source of joy:
1. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8).
C. The success of the kingdom of God brings joy:
1. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the Brethren (Acts 15:3).
D. The promises of a future hope brings joy:
1. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:9-11).
2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).
3. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13).
4. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets (Luke 6:22-23).
V. Spiritual Joy Is Permanent:
A. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you (John 16:22).
B. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
VI. Spiritual Joy Is Unspeakable:
A. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8).
VII. The Joy Of Salvation:
A. The gospel is a source of our joy:
1. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3).
2. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
3. Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:18).
B. The angels rejoice with joy when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7).
C. Even in temptation we are to have joy:
1. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4).
If you know anything of the inner life, you will confess that our highest, purest, and most enduring joys must be the fruit of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. No spring yields such sweet water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier’s spear. All earthly bliss is of the earth earthy, but the comforts of Christ’s presence are like Himself, heavenly. – Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening Devotions.
You cannot make yourself happy, but you can make yourself rejoice, in the sense that you will always rejoice in the Lord. Happiness is something within ourselves, rejoice is ‘in the Lord. ‘ – Martin lloyd-Jones, Hymns for the Family of God.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (II Corinthians 4:7-9).
It takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow. Jo Petty, Ibid., pg. 23.
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. Ibid., p. 25.
Joy is not a destination, but the manner of the journey.
The really happy man is the one who can enjoy the scenery when he has to take a detour. – Ibid., p. 24.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (psalm 30:5).
Joy to the world! The Lord is come: Let earth receive her king; Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, And heav’n and nature sing.
Joy to the world! The Savior reigns: Let men their songs employ, While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, Repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His 10ve. – IsaacWatts, 1719.
This article “The Fruit of the Spirit” by Gary D. Erickson is excerpted from his teaching notes, Fruit of the Spirit, 1999.