JOY IS NOT JUST A WOMAN’S NAME! That may be a politically incorrect statement today so I hasten to say JOY is not just a man’s name, a girl’s name, a boy’s name, or the name of any of the other professed sexes that may be out there today. Writing becomes harder as the world becomes wackier so forgive me if I offend your senses in any way. But actually I am not talking about people. I am talking about fruit named Joy. And you can’t purchase it at any fruit stand, produce market or super market. It is much too valuable to be sold there and no amount of money on earth could purchase it anyway. Now you have guessed by this time what I am talking about.
I am talking about spiritual fruit called “Joy” that only God can provide and He doesn’t sell it He gives it away but only to a certain class of people. I guess you would call that discrimination in our society but then God has different standards. The Apostle Paul said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is …joy…” (Galatians 5:22 NIV) Now there are other spiritual fruit listed in Paul’s statement but I just want to mention the Joy that the Holy Spirit provides to the Christian because too many Christians appear to have missed this gift from God.
Ellicott’s commentary on Galatians 5:22-23 notes that “joy” is “a peculiarly Christian grace, which has a much deeper root than mere natural cheerfulness of temper, and is rather the unfailing brightness and equanimity (mental calmness & composure) which proceeds from calm and settled principles animated by the Divine Spirit itself.” A person filled with God-given joy will maintain that joy even in the midst of great trials because in their life they have developed calm and settled principles in their relationship with God. To possess, practice, and maintain God’s joy takes time to meet with God on a regular basis so that when the trials come God’s strength is there to maintain our calmness and composure. Maybe the reason so many Christians appear to have no joy is that they are not dwelling in God’s presence and being “animated by the Divine Spirit itself.”
Nehemiah reminded the Hebrew people of the place to gather strength when he said, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) God is pleased when His people come to Him for worship and fellowship. God delights in His children seeking His face and the joy that overflows from God fills us so that we become more like Him. With His joy filling us, His Spirit guiding us, and His Word teaching us how can we not be people who maintain our calmness and composure amid life’s adventures and trials. Be Joyful! We know God is because, “strength and joy are in His dwelling place.” (1 Chronicles 16:27 NIV)