As we continue our series of the 9 Fruits of the Spirit we come across Joy. For me, joy has always been the most elusive of the fruits to understand. I knew it wasn’t happiness or defined by my circumstances but what was it?
The more I dug the more I realized that joy is placing our well-being in God who fills us instead of letting cares, riches, or pleasure define our joy. Joy doesn’t mean we have an absence of worry but we have an abundance of God. I found joy elusive because I kept believing it was based on my feeling instead of my God. Joy comes from the Lord. It is not based on how I feel. I should celebrate at times of celebration and mourn in times of mourning but this is not the end. How can we become people of joy?
Let’s look at Romans 15:13 (NIV).
“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.”
Did you see it? Fill you with all joy. God fills you with joy to fully satisfy. That means you place all your joy in the God of hope. That joy is not something you well-up from within but from the God of hope who fills.
Joy and hope share a relationship. You have joy because you have hope to continue whether it is through the weeds that can choke or the circumstances that can crush. The hope in Christ Jesus that we both share in his suffering and his resurrection. A hope that no matter how dark the tomb can be the stone will be rolled away and joy will be made complete.
When our hope is in the Lord that gives. We may begin to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” James 1:2 We are to count (measure) it all joy in whatever we face. To surge forward in the abundance of hope given by God to challenge the things that steal our joy. When we place our hope in God joy follows and joy allows us to count all circumstances as joy itself.
It is not a random set of events jumbled together but a road full of adventure, peril, joy, mourning, and most importantly a hopeful destination. The key to joy is not letting the moment define our joy but hope in the destination that all we be right. When we realize, God is in control all the way to the end we realize we can access that joy now through the Holy Spirit. That is a joyful thought and allows us to keep stepping forward.