Today’s Reading: John 16:1-33 (additional reading: Psalm 119:65-80 & Proverbs 16:4-5)
It’s safe to say that joy is one of the most elusive fruits for us as believers, part of the problem is that joy is often misunderstood. We tend to equate “happiness” with joy but they are two totally different ideas because they each spring from a different source. One comes from the world around me. The other originates directly from the Spirit of the Living God. Happiness is conditioned by and often dependent upon what is “happening” to me. If people treat me good, if things are going well in my life, then I’m happy. If my circumstances aren’t favourable, then I’m unhappy.
Joy, on the other hand, throbs throughout Scripture as a profound, compelling quality of life that transcends the events and disasters which may attack God’s people. Joy is a divine dimension of living that is not shackled by circumstances. The Hebrew word means, “to leap or spin around with pleasure.” In the New Testament the word refers to “gladness, bliss and celebration.”
To have the fruit of joy ripen in our lives is to recognize the journey involved in getting there. It takes time, diligence, patience, and hard work to make a grapevine produce grapes. Fruit is not instantaneous because it has to overcome weather, bugs, weeds, poor soil and neglect. Likewise, in our journey to joy we’re faced with the waves of apathy, the currents of pessimism, the deluge of doubt and the waterfalls of despair. There is no way we can manufacture this fruit on our own.
If we want to see this fruit ripen in our lives, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to prune away whatever it is that hinders our joy and then empower us to make some choices that move us closer to a lifestyle of rejoicing.
Thats why Jesus makes this promise in verse 20 of today’s text “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” It is because He along can offer greater joy.