“The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
I was asked, “What is Joy in the Holy Spirit and how do I get it?”
The word joy, found in the New Testament, is the translation of the Greek word “chara.” Chara is used to describe inner gladness, a deep sense of delight or rejoicing. Chara is found in a family of words, charis, meaning "grace" or "gift," and charos, to "rejoice” or “express joy." Chara, or joy, is the inner, natural response to a gracious gift. In every instance in the Bible, that gift originates with God, whether it be the arrival of the Messiah (Luke 1:14), the resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:8), God's power over the sinful world (Luke 10:17), or God's salvation (Acts 13:52). God's grace is so strong that even the promise of His work can elicit joy (Hebrews 10:34; James 1:2-4). And one of the greatest sources of joy is seeing God's redeeming work in others (Acts 13:52; 1 Thessalonians 3:9; Philippians 2:2).
Joy is listed by St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians, as the second fruit of the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). It is important to realize that Joy is a “fruit” of the Spirit; that is, Joy is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual.
Sadly, chara or joy, is often confused with happiness, but they are not the same thing. Joy comes from within, a kind of welling up and filling sensation that permeates despite what is happening in the world. Happiness shares some common ground with joy in emotional likeness, but it is most often dependent on a situation and dictated by conditions. To be joyful is to transcend being happy.
This transcendence is based not on my will or your work, but on the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Joy in the Spirit is wholly and completely found in the abiding and permeating love of God in Christ. To experience the “Joy of the Spirit” is to draw close to Christ and accept his love. Jesus tells us that true joy is only found in him, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
So, Joy in the Spirit is exactly what we want, what we have been promised, and what we need to live a better life. Joy in the Spirit overcomes the hardships, not by laughing through them, but by abiding in God who comforts, consoles, and lifts us in our sorrows.
Dive into scripture, immerse yourself in prayer, grow in the Spirit, and receive Joy!
“For the joy of the LORD is your strength,” Nehemiah 8:10.
Peace in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†