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Joy is...

‘The fruit of the Spirit is joy.’

If a Christian is defined as someone in whom God’s Spirit lives, then a joyless Christian is a contradiction in terms. Yet we all know that much of life is not characterised by joy, and so we either tend to feel guilty, because clearly we are not ‘spiritual’ enough, or we sigh briefly and then get on with things. But there are those nagging Bible commands. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice’ (Philippians 4.4). What’s it all about?

Notes to Growing Christians David Jackman

More than happiness

The first thing to realise is that joy is not the same thing as happiness. Often people say that joy is much deeper, which has led to the observation that some Christians’ joy is so deep it never seems to surface! The difference is not so much in depth as in duration. Happiness happens — it comes and goes and is largely the response of our emotions and feelings to external events. Nobody can be permanently happy; indeed you only have to set out determined to ‘be happy’ to soon feel quite miserable. So what is the joy that Christians have which is not experienced by those who do not share our faith?