By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)
Galatians 5:22 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”
The word “Joy” in the Bible is a unique and special word, in that it transcends mere happiness or pleasure, ignores temporary circumstances, and stays anchored to the solid reality of The Divine Joy giver! Again, as we look at the “fruit of the Spirit” we must understand that these life ‘fruits’ only come as a direct result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
“Joy” in Galatians 5:22 is the Greek word ‘chara’ and it is derived from both the words ‘charis’ meaning “grace” or “gift” as well as the word ‘charos’ which means “rejoice” or “to express joy”. So, what that means is that Biblical “joy” is defined as the “natural response to a grace gift!”
Put simply, it means that there can never be true “joy” without the presence of Grace. And the only source of pure, untainted, and complete “grace” is The One and Only True and Living God! That is why in modern society and culture there is a desperate need to redefine the word “joy” and ascribe to it a false and shallow definition; because to acknowledge the true definition of joy is to acknowledge the need for Saving Grace, and therefore a Savior. Salvation is a “joyful” experience precisely because it is a “grace gift.” The arrival of Messiah was obviously a “joy gift” occasion. (“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” Luke 1:14) As was His resurrection, His ascension, and will be His return!!
The world teaches a false joy that comes from possessions, prestige, power, popularity, or even a perceived great purpose. BUT joy comes ONLY from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 15:11). Try this exercise today: rather than focus on the circumstance of life (whether deemed good or bad), focus on the many evidences of the Grace of God in your life. Ask Him to fill you with recognition of Him and Who He is in your life. When we do that, I believe we will truly have, enjoy and minister through the fruit of the Spirit – JOY.