T. David Sustar

B. Childress
February 29, 2008

The second fruit or harvest of the Spirit is joy - not so much the joy of doing but of being.  The Greek word is
used in the New Testament to describe the joy of being reconciled to God and adopted or received as sons.  The high
and holy privilege of being accepted by the beloved is indeed a source of joy for the believer - the joy of the Lord.  
Submission to God's plan provides for joy, happiness, and peace.  On the other hand, rebellion produces only failure
and despair.

This joy is not the human or natural joy men receive from the abundance of things they possess.  It is not the
happiness gained from pleasant experiences.  It is the joy of sins forgiven, "the bliss the bloodwash know, the peace
akin to heaven, where the healing waters flow."  The source of the fullness of joy is the presence of God.  Spirit-filled
believers should especially be full of joy.  God dwells in them so there is complete, continuous and abiding joy.

Another Meaning of the Word

The Greek word chara comes from the same root word we translate as "grace."  This again assures us that our joy is
not based on earthly circumstances but on our relationship with God.  There is definitely something to be said for the
unmerited favor of God which flows so graciously through our lives.  Knowing our sins are forgiven, that we are
children of God, that we have an eternal hope in our hearts makes us joyful.

Douglas LeRoy reminds us of this assurance in
The Holy Spirit in Perspective: "Joy is an inner experience of elation
which the believer has when he is personally conscious of his reconciliation to God  (Romans 5:11).  It is not
dependent upon anything the believer does, but it is based on the grace of God.  Nothing on earth can give this and
nothing can take it away."

The words of salvation and eternal life have a profound effect upon us:  "
These things have I spoken unto you, that
my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full
" (John 15:11).

Bennie S. Triplett noted:

1.  The Bible is a book of joy.

2.   Christ is the source of joy.

3.  The Christian is a temple of joy.

4.  The church is a place of joy.

In His prayer for us, Jesus said to His Father, "
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they
might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
"  John 17:13.  Did you notice the phrase "my joy" in both of these verses?  
The True Vine will produce His appropriate fruit, and our joy will be the joy of Christ!  Nehemiah 8:10 becomes a
reality:  "
The joy of the Lord is your strength."

Reasons to Rejoice

Donald Gee, a great Pentecostal writer, mentions three causes for which Christians may rejoice in his book Fruitful or

1.  Christians may rejoice in doing God's will.  Sin, the transgression of the law, is replaced by salvation.  Sanctification
and consecration allow us to say with the psalmist David, "
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my
"  Psalm 40:8.

2.  Christians may rejoice in doing God's service.  Christian service offers a vast variety of forms, such as the list
contained in Romans 12.  The happy servant will often testify, as did the Master, that the joy of service can come
before necessary food.

3.  Christians may rejoice in God himself, not His gifts, but His attributes, such as His wisdom, love, and power.  David
longed after God like the hart after the water brook; "
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:" Psalm 42:2.   In the
next Psalm he says, "
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy:" Psalm 43:4.  Nowhere else
could he find satisfaction.  Neither can we.

I believe we can also find a cause for rejoicing in the Word of God.  The psalmist continually spoke of the joy of
knowing God's Word"  
"I will delight myself in thy statutes:  I will not forget thy Word" Psalm 119:16.  "Thy testimonies
also are my delight, and my counsellors.
"  Psalm 119:24.  In like manner, the believer finds fellowship with God the
Father and Christ the Son through the Word:  "
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my
words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
"  John 14:23.  That is a
source of great joy!

Joy in Relationships with our Fellowman

Joy appears in the list of the fruit of the Spirit between love and peace.  You can have no joy without love to God, and
you have no joy without peace with your fellowman.  When love is present, joy cannot be far behind.  

This aspect of relationship is reflected in a greeting used by the early church, "Joy be with you."  Or they would simply
say, "Rejoice" (chairein).  Every experience of their lives was being illuminated by joy - for joy adds lustre to all the
Christian virtues.  In his discussion on what we should eat or drink, the apostle Paul told the Romans: "
For the
kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Romans 14:17.

Joy in Adversity

Joy is a manifestation of inner peace, no matter what the circumstance.  Christians should glow brightly in adversities.  
Just as love is the opposite of hate and peace is the opposite of war, joy is the opposite of sorrow.  
One of the first
lessons a new Christian must learn is that joy is not dependent on circumstances; instead, trials are to be
transformed by joy.

Some of us are content to only endure. We thrill to tell others how we "held on."  But we must do more than endure
and overcome trials; we must rejoice in everything, for no triumph is complete without joy:  "
That ye might walk worthy
of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened
with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering and with joyfulness;
" Colossians

James, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote to the 12 tribes scattered  abroad: "
My brethren, count
it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let
patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
"  James 1:2-4.

In Everything

In every circumstance of life, we are to cultivate joy.  The little Book of Philippians has at least 14 references to joy.  
The apostle Paul said he made prayers with joy (1:4) and rejoiced when the Word was preached (1:18).  He spoke of
the joy of increased faith and Christian fellowship (1:25,26).  He told the Philippians to expect the joy of likemindedness
(2:2) and that would fulfill His joy.  He spoke of the reward he would receive and rejoiced in the day of Christ (2:16).  
His sacrificial service was a joy (2:17), not only for him but also for them (2:18).  The return of Epaphroditus, who has
been healed when near death, would be a source of joy (2:28).

Chapter 3 begins, "
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." which was an admonition not to trust the flesh (3:1); "For,"
he continued, "we...rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (3:2).  Chapter 4 begins with the
beloved brethren being his "joy and crown" (4:1).  His stern admonition resounds, "
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and
again I say, Rejoice.
" (4:4).  He finally declared his joy over their support of the ministry (4:10).  Nothing was to keep
them from praising God.

The apostle Paul experienced many problems during his ministry.  And yet Paul said, "All I want to do is rejoice!"  The
good news is he meant it!  It wasn't just lip service, but his whole life resounded to the fact: "
But none of these things
move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I
have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
" Acts 20:24.

Perhaps We Look in the Wrong Places

A book of illustrations offered the following under the caption "Where is Happiness?"

Not in Unbelief - Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type.  He wrote:  "I wish I had never been born."

Not in Pleasure - Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did.  He wrote:  "The worm, the canker, and grief are
mine alone."

Not in Money - Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that.  When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the
most miserable man on earth."

Not in Position and Fame - Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both.  He wrote:  "Youth is a
mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."

Not in Military Glory - Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day.  Having done so, he wept in his
tent, because he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."

Where is true happiness found?  The answer is simple - in Christ alone.

The End Result

Those who rely upon Him, no matter what the circumstances of life, can understand the apostle Paul's remark in his
first letter to the Thessalonians:  "
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much
affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
" (I Thessalonians 1:6).


A Layman's Guide to the Fruit of the Spirit, by T. David Sustar, Copyright 1990, Pathway Press.