This is the second in a series on the fruit of the Spirit.
“The fruit of the Spirit is joy.”
The Spirit’s joy not only results from our circumstances turning favorably, but is an attitude going into them. Joy is often a quiet, inner confidence in God’s sovereign control over our cicumstances no matter what. The Spirit’s joy is both given by God and expressed from God.
- The Spirit’s joy provides vision; it is forward-focused. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). Our future hope necessarily impacts our ability to withstand suffering in the present.
- The Spirit’s joy bestows perseverance for trials. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (Jm 1:2–4; also 1 Thess 1:6; Col 1:24).
- The Spirit’s joy supplies enduring peace. It is a settled conviction that God is in control of all circumstances; it is an inner strength that only God gives. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philip 4:4-7; also Jn 16:22).
- The Spirit’s joy inspires hope. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Pt. 1:8); “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13).
- The Spirit’s joy restores our body and our soul bringing healing and renewal. “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice” (Ps 51:8); “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Ps 51:12; also Ps 94:19).
- The Spirit’s joy invigorates for evangelism. “So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to [those in Pisidion Antioch] and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:51-52). Despite the persecutors, Paul and Barnabas were not discouraged and moved on to Iconium to spread the Gospel message.
- The Spirit’s joy is not only given by God but expressed from God toward us. “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing…The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ” (Zech 3:14, 17). Eight words for joy or joyful expression are used in these 2 verses (“Joy.” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).