I am continuing my look at the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ described in Galatians 5. Today I’m looking at joy.
A big insight into Biblical joy is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. “Be Joyful Always”. We expected to have joy at all times. Noboy is happy all the time, and nobody cold be expected to be, but biblical joy is not happiness. Happiness is dependant on circumstances, but joy is not. It is a result of what Jesus has done for us and can be will us always. This is an essential point.
In Deuteronomy 12:12 we see that Joy was expected to be a natural part of worship for God’s people. This joy was intended to be a response to God’s blessings .
In John 3:29, John the Baptist experiences joy through fulfilling his life purpose in preparing the way for Jesus. He doesn’t need to be the focus of everyone’s attention – his joy is to see Jesus take his rightful place.
In 1 John 1:4, John finds joy in knowing that his readers have been informed the truth about Jesus .
In Romans 5:3 Paul advocates rejoining in times of suffering because God uses these times to develop character in us, and he was a man who suffered so he knew what he was talking about. James 1:2 re-iterates this point.
In Philipians 4:4 we are told o “Reoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” In Biblical writing, the use of repition like this as intended to highlight an important point – like using a bold font.
Philipians – the Book of Joy
Philipians is well known as the book of Joy in the Bible. This small book of only 4 chapters covers a lot of topics, but the theme of joy shows up all the way through.
In his book ‘Be Joyful’, a study on Philipians, Warren W. Wiersbe  discusses four different mindsets necessary for cultivating joy – taken from the four chapters of Philipians. These are:
- The singe Mind (Philipians 1). Paul’s focus is not on his circumstances but on his single purpose in life: to serve Jesus Christ.
- The Submissive Mind (Philipians 2). Paul puts other people ahead of himself, so he is no longer focussed on getting his own way all the time.
- The Spiritual Mind (Philipians 3). Pauls desire is not for more and more “things”. He strives for spiritual goals, trying to look at the world from God’s point of view.
- The Secure Mind (Philipians 4). Paul allows the peace of God to guard and protect his heart against worry (Philipians 4:7).
Wiersbe  contrasts these again four joy stealers:
I have scratched the surface here, but I intend to continue looking into the subject of Joy this year – so I will no doubt return to this subject in the future.
 NIV Bible Study notes. Copyright (C) 1985; The Zondervan Corporation.
 Wiersbe W. Be Joyful. Even When Things Go Wrong You Can Have Joy. Chariot Victor Publishing. 1974.
 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.