But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, – Galatians 5:22 

In the Jewish Encyclopedia, Kaufmann Kohler stated that no language has as many words for joy and rejoicing as does Hebrew. In the Old Testament, there are 27 different words that are used primarily… for some aspect of joy or joyful participation in religious worship.

Hebrew religious ritual (says Kohler) demonstrates that God is the source of joy. In contrast to the rituals of other faiths of the East, Israelite worship was essentially a joyous proclamation and celebration. The good Israelite regarded the act of thanking God as the supreme joy of his life. Pure joy is joy in God as both its source and object. In fact, there is a Jewish teaching which says that we will have to give an account to God for the times we didn’t enjoy the things He gave us.

The psalmist says, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11).

The New Testament stresses this as heavily as the Old did:

1 Thessalonians 5:16 commands us to “Be joyful always”  Romans 12:12 says we should “Be joyful in hope...” While Philippians 4:4 states “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”.

There are many Christians who struggle with this idea of having “joy” in their lives. The evangelist Billy Sunday noticed this absence of joy in the lives of many people he preached to, and he observed: “If there is no joy in your religion, you’ve got a leak in your faith.” In other words – if there’s no joy in your life – you have a problem. You’ve got a leak some place and you need to find a way to deal with it.

God’s kind of Joy does not depend upon the present situation. In fact, God’s joy often can exist despite our circumstances. That’s why Scripture so often tells us to rejoice…even when it doesn’t make any sense. James 1:2-4: for example says.Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

How is this all possible? Well Galatians 5:22 “The fruit of the SPIRIT is… joy…” In other words… God’s Spirit is the source of God’s Joy. So, the more we are filled with the Spirit of God… the more of God’s joy we’ll have in life. For the Christian, Joy is more than an emotion. Joy is a gift God gives us to overcome our circumstances, to empower us to rise above the pain and the sorrows of this life.

 

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