Joy is the second fruit of the spirit, and yet we rarely talk about it. It is something we all long for, but the truth is that it rarely happens in our comfort zones. In fact, it often follows pain and is a companion of fear and uncertainty.
Joy and happiness are often confused with one another. Our culture has hijacked and commercialized the meaning of happiness. It has been wrapped up in success, possession of things and fun. The pursuit of happiness is a pursuit of comfort while joy is a quality found regardless of our circumstances.
Rooted in love
Joy is the second fruit of the spirit. It follows love, but we rarely talk about it. The two are deeply connected. It is rooted in love, and like love, it is a practice.
Joy happens in spite of suffering. It is an act of resistance against despair and a display of trust in God. See, joy is about connecting with something beyond ourselves. Like love, it points the focus away from selfish desires.
Joy comes in the morning
In the midst of our pain, it can feel impossible to believe joy will follow. Psalm 30:5a states that “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Joy flows from pain in the sense that we do not truly know we possess it until it is tested.
When we choose joy, regardless of the situation, we are placing our faith and hope in a God who is bigger than our circumstances. This doesn’t mean that we don’t hurt or mourn. No. Embrace those feelings when they come, don’t stuff them. But remember those moments, tragedies and sufferings do not define who you are in Christ.
It was what you do in a moment that defines who you are, not what happens to you. It is by your fruits that you will be known.
Try joy on for a spin. Choose today that you will, no matter what lies ahead, commit to living a joy-filled life.