What is joy? The dictionary defines joy as: an intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness or to be filled with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction
What do you think joy is? Sure it is to be filled happiness but I think the true feeling of joy as described in the Bible goes much deeper than that.
In the Bible the word joy is used to describe any range of human experiences from the birth of a son or daughter to sexual love. In our society joy is often found in these same types of experiences. The problem with this type of joy is that it is fleeting. When the excitement of the experience is over the joy seems to end with it.
This type of joy is based on emotions. I think God intends for our joy to go much deeper than just an emotion. God wants us to not only feel joy, but also to know God’s true joy. Feeling joy is only temporary and goes away when the feelings end but knowing joy goes beyond the feeling. True joy is with you no matter what happens. This is the type of joy that keeps a person who is ill, smiling or a person who feels that life is nothing, hoping.
Our joy is not found in someone or something that looses it’s luster after a few days, months or years our joy is found in God and the truth of love, which was shown on the cross. Lets look at a few passages that show us where our joy should rest. These verses I think sum up what Paul intended for the word joy to mean when he laid out the Fruit of the Spirit.
The first thing you notice about the word joy in Galatians is that it is listed second to love. I think this was intentional because without love you cannot have joy.
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:3 “A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth”
This verse has different interpretations but I think this verse in proverbs show that when our love is placed on the Father’s wisdom not on the ways of the prostitute (the world) we will have true joy: joy that cannot be taken away from us. You see when we make the wise choice and accept the love offering of Jesus, which is to give our life to Him for what He has done for us we will have joy. First comes love then comes joy.
This is why I think Paul’s list of the Fruit of The Spirit is written in a specific order first must be a love for God and His Word which brings wisdom and the wisdom of what God has done for us will manifest as true joy in our lives.
This idea is also brought forth in verses such as Psalm 45:7 which states that “ love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”
This verse shows that of we first love God and righteousness we will be anointed with joy. Again first we have love and then we have joy. Think about it if you take way love what do you have hate and misery. So with love you have joy without love you have hate and misery. The choice is yours.
So the answer the question of what is joy would be knowing God and experiencing His love which moves us from a place away from God to a place by His side. This is joy an intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness or to be filled with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction because of love and what love has done for us. Do not confuse God’s joy with world’s joy because without the love of God, joy is just a fleeting moment in the sun that leaves with coming darkness and waits for renewal at the coming sun of whatever comes along.
The question that must be asked of us is what are we going to do with our love and joy.