- Definition– Delight in God and his salvation for sheer beauty and worth of who he is.
- Opposite– Hopelessness, despair
- Counterfeit– Elation that comes with a blessing not the Blesser! Mood swings based on circumstances.
Chara is derived from the word charis meaning “grace”. It is the divine feeling the Holy Spirit gives us. Joy is the awareness of abundance. It is the satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 28:7)
We must pray and be thankful even when we don’t feel like we have joy. God never intended for us to be emotionally happy all the time. Before a blessing comes, there is long suffering.
There is a “time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
Joy comes from filling the spiritual void between you and God. We must not get the definition of joy and happiness confused with each other.
Happiness is a feeling when something good happens or we get what we want. God wants us to be happy if he is approving what is happening, but all of our days can’t be happy. There comes a time where we suffer from discouragement or depression. All of our pleasures can’t always fulfill the feeling that we want. Happiness is simply an emotion that we feel. There is a time for all emotions such as sadness and anger. Joy is a different feeling- a divine origin that stays with you and does not “come and go” like our feelings. Jesus said His joy would “remain in you” and “your joy, no one will take from you” (John:15:11).
We think getting what we want will make us happy. You receive much more joy and happiness from giving rather than receiving. To produce the fruit of joy, you must focus on loving God and loving others. To produce a joyful life, you must have gratitude. Joy and gratitude must be in sync, for we are not grateful because we’re happy, rather we’re happy because we’re grateful. It is important to focus on what we have instead of what we think we need.
Joy is the second fruit of the spirit listed in Book of Galatians proceeded by love. Joy is spiritually important, but some people have disagreed that having joy is not necessary. Some religions have chosen to live a self-disciplined life that does not include any type of indulgence, including the act of being joyful. The Bible warns that self-indulgence will not lead to fulfillment. According to 1 Timothy 5:6, a pleasure-seeking person that only looks out for himself is dead while still living. God wants you to have joy and rejoice from his works, but we must never forget where our source of joy comes from. Always take delight in the Lord. Taking delight means that our heart is at peace and we are fulfilled by God. If we allow ourselves to find satisfaction with God, he will provide everything in our hearts. This does not mean he will bless you with a million dollars tomorrow, but it means when we delight him, we become more like him. Many say that money can’t buy happiness. Many will delight in riches and materialistic things in life, but this will not fulfill your need for God.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” -1 John 2:15
God is able to provide all things, for things in this world will only provide temporary happiness. The key is not to have happiness, but have eternal joy!
There is also joy hidden in sorrow. Is it wrong to have sorrow? Of course not. Godly sorrow is the production of repentance towards God. It will produce us to repent to God when we know we need to change for the better. “For godly sorrow produces repentance, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, which you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication. In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11).
Apostle Paul describes Godly sorrow as:
- Diligence– persistent effort
- Clearing of yourselves– using your intent and focus
- Indignation– strong displeasure at something considered unjust
- Fear-emotion by a threat
- Vehement desire-intense want
- Zeal –a strong feeling of interest
- Vindication- to justify
Worldly sorrow is focused on us and our image. Unlike godly sorrow that is guilt over sin, worldly is how we perceive ourselves to others.
Sorrow also occurs when we grieve over someone. Grieving is a healthy response when someone you love dies. You will not see the person in flesh, but you should find comfort that your loss is only temporary. Without hope, grieving can cause you to become stuck in your sorrow rather than rejoicing that your loved one has made it into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Have joy even through your trials. Think of your trials as an “uncomfortable grace.” They may be hard to get through, but you know joy will come in the morning. Trials and tests determines your faithfulness to God. When you are going through a tough season, trials that occur may upset or distract you. Be sure to focus on God’s assignment for you in the midst of the storm. Solid joy will flow through you if you continue to serve God as he pleases.
Hopelessness is the absence of joy in your life. If you feel hopeless, it is hard to accomplish goals if you don’t have faith in yourself. Look at the reality in your life. If you are not pleased with your situation, make goals to make it better. It is also important to find an outlet about your feelings of hopelessness even it means crying and releasing your pain. The truth of the matter is God didn’t promise that every day of your life would be “happy”. He promised you can still have joy even through the worst of storms. Joy is shown in many ways by people who know they serve an awesome God. Everyone has their own journey. Don’t compare your path to everyone else’s path. It doesn’t speed your path, improve your situation, or give you peace. It just keeps you stuck and makes you feel inadequate. Whether you like it or not, you are exactly where God wants you to be right now. There is no correct path in life. Enjoy the journey and lessons.
Self- love is the vitamin for joy. If we don’t take our vitamin, we become weak from hopelessness and despair. We don’t want to get in the loss stage of despair. To overcome despair, face the things that hurt and anger you. Acknowledge them and give them all to God. All the pain you are suffering from is not your battle to fight, so you must release them in order to be free and fulfill a joyful life. Secondly, you must find the love that lives in your heart. Loving yourself is the foundation of you. You can’t be loving to God and to others if you don’t have love for yourself. All of your sufferings can be transformed into feelings of pure joy. All you have to do is choose love over hurt and anger. And you don’t have to face this alone because God is the source of your strength.
We must be mindful how we react when we receive blessings. When a blessing is received, we become elated because it might be the blessing that we asked for. The question is: would you still be elated if God still blessed you, but it was the opposite of what you wanted? You wanted that relationship to work so badly, but God ended it because he has something better waiting for you. You might thank him for blocking it, but you will not feel elated because it was something that you wanted even if it wasn’t the best decision. Even in our times of doubt and when we don’t understand, be elated for Our Blesser and less about the blessing. Having joy is a lifestyle. We can’t start having mood swings because we don’t understand why things are happening. It is important to maintain your joyful attitude and let it flourish even in hard times. Our reason for the fruit of joy is that God wants to save us, so we must obey and love to receive the fullness of joy.
From the upcoming book, The Power of Spiritual Fruit by Oprah “Zip” Bradford