The second Fruit of the Spirit is Joy. But what is joy? Miriam Webster describes joy as a feeling or emotion such as a state of happiness or a source or cause of delight. But what is joy from the Spirit perspective? Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he creates in us the desire to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3
Why Joy in Times of Despair?
The timeframe that James was writing was filled with much suffering on many levels with persecution coming from friends, family, and authorities. The people that did not understand and had only known the world or were stuck on traditional religious practices could not fathom the hope, joy, and love that they were feeling due to the Salvation from sin provided by the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Many Jews did not want to believe that their Messiah had come and that He died because that was the plan. Their rejection was the world’s Salvation.
As Christians (even today), we are prone to suffering because we are separate from the world. So when we are met with trials, temptations, and persecution, we see the beauty that comes from the results even if we are not the recipients of the good that comes from the bad.
Joy is a Reflection of the Heart
Joy, the outward showing of the inward elation that is felt when we think of Jesus and what He has done for us. It is the heart pounding, blood pumping feeling that happens when we talk about Jesus in our lives. It is the calm that overcomes us when the world just isn’t in our favor but we think of Jesus and smile. It is our understanding that God’s Got This and we can relax knowing that all will be okay.
The Emotional Cure
When a bad day happens (and they do happen) the usual thing is to pour out our hearts to a sounding board, usually a spouse/significant other/parent/sibling/best friend. Somehow that does actually make us feel better. Why is this? The healthy relationship that we have with others who are willing to listen. This is the earthly equivalent of God’s desired relationship with us. When we pray there is a peace that comes over us especially when we hear that still small voice.
The most beautiful feeling in the world.