The Fruits: Joy

Joy. If you survey Scripture for the term “joy” or related words, you’ll find the concept is surprisingly everywhere. Perhaps more surprising though is that joy is several times commanded of us. “Rejoice always,” instructs 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Philippians 4:4 is equally as direct: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Even before Christ, the Psalmist could say, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).

Joy is more than just happiness. Biblical joy is a positive attitude that grows from the Spirit within us. It’s a way of living that recognizes that throughout everything—the good and the bad—Jesus is King. Of course, there are times to weep and there are moments where we can’t put a smile on our faces, but joy can still coexist with our human reactions no matter what the world throws at us. While happiness, pleasure, and the like fade with our moods and emotions, Christian joy remains constant because it reflects who we are inside. When the Spirit enters us and Jesus shapes our thoughts, actions, and words, we tend toward positivity over pessimism.

Flowing from the Spirit inside us, joy is a helpful tool for approaching life. Paul tells the Philippians he’s found the secret to contentment, a baptized version of a hakuna matata attitude. He writes, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. … I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11, 13). Through Christ, we can get through life with a joyful attitude. Afterall, as Nehemiah 8:10 reminds, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Thus, joy is our fuel as we navigate a world messed up by sin. Equipped with joy, we live a transformed life markedly different than how others without the hope of Jesus live.

Joy is a requirement for Christians because it flows from our identity as people with “Kingdom Vision.” God is sovereign no matter what evil prevails nor what trials come our way. As Paul notes in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Believers in God see the endgame, so we have reason to not worry and to rejoice! God has promised a future Kingdom where there is no sorrow. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). With that Kingdom in our sights, it changes our attitudes in the here and now, producing in us the fruit of joy. Moreover, our joy on earth can help shape this world into becoming God’s vision for humanity.

Discussion Questions

  • Why is it hard be joyful all the time?
  • How would the world change if Christians approached life with joy?
  • Who is an example of someone you know who has “contagious” joy? What do they do they shows you they are joyful?
  • What might it practically look like to have “Kingdom Vision” that produces joy?
  • What actions can you take to be more joyful in your everyday life?

Prayer Prompt

If you haven’t felt joyous lately, pray “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Ps. 51:12). Thank God for blessings big and small in your life, even when you don’t see them. Ask that your heart is shaped by the Spirit so that you can reflect God to others through your joy.


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