Joy – Fruit of the Spirit
How does the world look on happiness? Think of the sort of things that make them happy. By measuring happiness you can see how successful men are in life, because that’s their purpose.
Is it any good as a purpose for life? Solomon tells us that pleasure is vain (Eccl 2v1-11) – you can eat, drink, be merry, and then you’ll die (Eccl 9v7-9).
Yet joy is very important in the Bible – Rom 14v17. Do we think about it? Do we feel it’s actually selfish to think about it – after all, the other fruits of the Spirit are about others, and this is about me?
What does the Bible say about it?
Joy in the Old Testament
We see good examples of joy, and commands to be joyful:
- In worship: Deut 12v7,12,18 and throughout the book! A good example is David in 1 Chron 15v16, 16v10&31-33
- In salvation: 1 Sam 2v1, all through the Psalms and the prophets, see Zeph 3v14
- In the goodness of God’s presence: 2 Chr 6v41
- In God’s victory over enemies: 2 Chr 20v27
- In God’s word: Psalm 119v162
- In the coming Christ: Zech 9v9
- Regardless of circumstances: Hab 3v17-18
It’s regardless of circumstances. Or is it? Are we saying we should just grin and bear it? Be stoical? What are these passages in the Old Testament actually telling us?
- There is a reason for our joy
- It’s a circumstance that does not change: rejoice in the Lord always So why should we be joyful in him?
- Because he has chosen us: Luke 10v 17-21
- Because he has given us faith to salvation: 1 Peter 1v5-9
- Because he has reconciled us: Rom 5v10-11
- Because he speaks to us: John 3v29
- Because he keeps us: John 17v12-13
- Because we are united with him: 1 Peter 4v12-14 (see also Acts 5v41)
- Because he works through our service to him: Phil 2v14-18
- Because he works in us to change us: James 1v2-3
- Because we look forward to resurrection: Acts 2v25-28
- Because we look forward to a reward in Heaven: Matt 5v11-12
What should we do about it?
In the light of that:
- Come to him in faith – we have to start there
- Trust in God: Rom 15v13
- Confess and forsake sin: Psalm 51v12
- Look to the future
And his joy will be our strength, as it was for Nehemiah and his people (Neh 8v10)
What about in the future?
We can be joyful now looking to the future, but in the future itself we will be even more joyful!
- Matthew 25v21 – ‘Enter into joy’
- Jude v24-25