My son was home on Spring Break not too long ago and he was
asking us about the Fruit of the Spirit one night.Before he really asked a question, I ticked
them off for him.I don’t know what I
was thinking but you know how it happens.You don’t think about it anymore.You just list them:love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
self-control.You even throw the law bit in for good measure
at the end.I know I did that day.
He nodded and then asked a pretty good question.He asked for the difference between happiness
and joy.This question wasn’t new for me
but I was a little startled to hear it from my twenty year old.He said he had the others pretty well figured
out (his words, not mine).After a quick
prayer for guidance, I sat down with my son to share my take on joy.
Happiness is an immediate feeling that satisfies your need
for the moment, I explained.It is good
to be happy with your life, your job, your school.Strive for happiness but always remember it
is dependent on circumstance and not 100% within your control.For example, I told him, if you come back from class to find
everything gone in your dorm room, your happiness meter is probably going to be
close to zero.He agreed since at the
moment, practically his whole life is in his dorm room or his car.
On the other hand, joy is an element independent of daily
life.It is rooted in your walk with
God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.The joy you have from fellowship with God begins as a tiny seed in your
heart and grows each day through prayer and time spent with Him in His
Word.The Holy Spirit nurtures it to
produce the very thing that sustains you when your very world appears to be
When the sun rises on a new day to reveal rain clouds, the
blossom of joy will yield hope instead of fear.It allows the believer to stand firm under the impending storm with
peace, in preparation for what may come, knowing God is with him through it
all.After those storm clouds pass,
praise and thanksgiving lift high to the heavens in great relief and yes, joy.
Oh, the joy of the Lord is an awesome thing.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of
the Holy Spirit.