Editorâs Note: This is the third in the series of posts on the Fruit of the Spirit. Each post in the series will highlight one of the qualities that makes up the Fruit. Some content for the series is taken from the YouVersion Reading Plan âThe Fruit of the Spiritâ created and provided by YouVersion.
Galatians 5:22â-â¬23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The first thing that I want to point out is that the word fruit, in our scripture, is singular. It is one Fruit.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the qualities that make up the Fruit. There are not nine different fruitsâit is a nine-part Fruit. The Fruit is like an orange, and inside the orange, there are numerous slices. So, imagine that each slice of the orange is one of the aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit.
The âfruitâ of the Spirit is the expression of our renewed nature as it is seen by others.
Joy depends on God not circumstances
Happiness depends on circumstances, joy depends on God. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have joy because of your faith in Him and His sacrifice for us.
There was a Jesuit biologist and philosopher who once wrote, âJoy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.â
From Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible - Joy which is better experienced than expressed because there are no words to describe it. It is a joy on account of the glory of God, which the believer lives in the hope and faith of; and by it saints may know a little of what heaven itself will
The dictionary defines joy as "the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation."
With this definition, we could say that "happiness" and "joy" are interchangeable. But thatâs not biblical joy. Happiness depends on circumstances, joy depends on God and we have this because of our faith in Jesus and His sacrifice for us.
âJoy is a deep and enduring state of our soul that no circumstance, event, or human can steal away from us. Itâs delighting in God and choosing to rejoice in all things. Because our circumstances donât rule us, our mood swings are nonexistent. This doesnât mean we are always in a âgood moodâ but we can remain in an unexplainable place of contentment. Joyful people donât allow misery, sorrow, sadness, or despair to rule their thoughts or guide their actions.
1 Peter 1:6-9 (ESV)6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,7 so that the tested genuineness of your faithâmore precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fireâmay be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.8 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,9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
What did Peter mean when he wrote that we ârejoice with joy that is inexpressible and full of gloryâ?
Itâs clear that the joy that Peter was talking about is so great you canât express it in words, it is so great that is beyond human ability to describe. Thatâs a lot of joy.
One reason that we donât always experience the kind of joy Peter talked about is that we confuse happiness and joy. We think that both happiness and joy are found in pleasure, security and prosperity. Joy is not the same as happiness â although they may. Happiness vanishes when things get tough; joy continues and may even grow when things get tough. When we focus on the love of Jesus and not the circumstance we realize that the joy of the Lord is our strength. While we may not be happy as the world defines happiness, we still have joy.
James tells us that we should even have this joy during the bad times.
James 1:2-4 (ESV)2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Our joy should rise above circumstances. This joy is not produced by something external that makes us feel happy. It is a supernatural result of a life filled with the Holy Spirit of the living God.
Philippians 4:4 (ESV)4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.