“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy
Joy can be hard to describe.
To some degree, being joyful is being happy, but it clearly isn’t just happiness, as we know that even Jesus experienced sadness and we’re reminded in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything, even sadness and mourning.
But even when the happiness leaves and the sadness and difficult times come, there can still be an underlining joy found from the Spirit.
Essentially, joy is a bedrock foundation of happiness.
It’s the solid ground that remains when everything else is taken away.
No, this doesn’t meant we will always feel happy,
But it means that this foundational happiness (joy) continues to bring a solid beam of light to our hearts in the mist of our darkest days.
And, as always, we can find a perfect example of this joy in the life of Jesus:
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:2
In the mist of Jesus’ darkest hour,
He had joy that helped bring Him through to the end.
Even in the mist of enduring all the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that He was experiencing in that moment, Jesus turned and focused on the “joy that was set before Him” the solid foundation that could not be moved even in His darkest moment.
And we too can set our foundational happiness on solid ground as well.
A bedrock foundation of truth and joy that will weather every storm
Now, keep in mind, this foundational joy has to be something that cannot be taken away from us, no matter the circumstances or the struggles we go through.
And, the foundational joy Jesus promises us is that when all is said and done, He will wipe away every tear and right every wrong. And He promises to be with us for every step along the way. No matter how dark our days may be, Jesus promises that there will be a day of light that will shine brighter than we could ever imagine.
And we can trust that He will fulfill this promise to us because of His Spirit that He gives us.
The Guarantee Of The Holy Spirit
One of the many roles that the Spirit plays in our lives is that He reminds us of Jesus’ eternal promise to us: that Jesus has saved and redeemed us and will one day bring us to be fully with Him, forever.
And here is how He, the Holy Spirit, is part of that promise:
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” -Ephesians 1:13–14
Jesus has fully paid our debt, and brought us into the family of God…
But we are not fully with God yet, as we will be in the New Heaven and New Earth. (we have not “acquired possession” of the promise)
And so, until that day, Jesus has sent His Spirit ”who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it”.
This guarantee is much like an engagement ring, which represents a soon-to-be marriage. One that is sure to happen, yet hasn’t happened yet.
You can also think of the Holy Spirit as a “deposit” with the “full payment” coming soon.
Or as having the title to a car in hand that you have yet to pick up.
Regardless of the analogy you prefer, the Holy Spirit gives us a foundational joy for our lives that can sustain us in any difficulty, because it’s rooted in Jesus’ death, resurrection and promise to give us eternal life with Him.
And here’s why this foundational joy can surpass any circumstance we face:
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38–39
And the Holy Spirit in our lives reminds us of that.
That Jesus has died,
That Jesus has risen,
That Jesus has paid our debt,
That nothing can separate us from His love,
And that no matter how bad it gets,
No matter what darkness we face,
Jesus. Has. Won.
He’s preparing an eternal place for those who believe in Him,
And He is coming again.
I’m not saying it won’t get extremely dark and difficult,
But the Joy of the Spirit keeps it from getting pitch black.
And He promises to sustain us until the morning comes.
Receiving His Grace
As with producing the love of the Spirit, we need to recognize that this joy isn’t found in trying harder or doing better, but it’s found by coming to Him and asking for His power and grace in our lives.
As you pray for more of His joy and hope in your life, here’s some verses you can reflect on regarding having joy in the mist of trials and faith that God is working through it all.
“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.” -Romans 15:13
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” -James 1:2–3
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” -1 Peter 1:6–9
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.” -Psalm 27:6
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…” -Romans 5:3