The Fruit of the Ruach is Joy
DIG: How are grace and joy connected? How are James 1:2-3 and First Peter 4:10 related to each other? What relationship does joy have with happiness? Where does joy come from? What surprising conclusion did James come to about joy? What is the key to having joy in your life? Why should we be joyful? How can we express our joy?
REFLECT: How has God’s grace in your life brought you joy, either by being fulfilled or by a promise? How have the various colors of trouble in your life been matched by the various colors of grace given to you by God? Are you seeking the joy of ADONAI or the ADONAI of joy? Why should you be full of joy today? How do we express our joy?
When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv – Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.
The second manifestation of the Ruach is joy (Greek: chara), and it is linked with the key word in the book of Galatians, which is the word grace (Greek: charis). Those two words sound very similar, chara and charis. The two words come from the same root and are connected because joy flows out of grace. When you understand God’s grace in your life, either a promise or fulfilled, it brings us joy.
ADONAI has promised us some things by His grace that haven’t happened yet. He has promised that one day He is going to return and establish His Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years. He has promised us that one day He is going to take us from this world into heaven. He has promised that to be absent from the body is to be present with Him. We haven’t experienced those things yet, but the promise of those things gives us joy. And then there are those things that have already been fulfilled.
The word joy is used some 350 times in the bible where the word joy, or some variation of the word is used. In the TaNaKh there are 27 different words to describe joy. It is a key element of our faith and you should be able to understand what it means to have the joy of ADONAI.
Do not let what is good for you be spoken of as evil – for the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but righteousness and shalom and joy in the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Romans 14:16-17). Many times people equate the word joy with happiness. But nothing could be further from the truth. Happiness is based on the favorable circumstances of your life. It’s like waves on the beach, happiness comes and goes. And sometimes the waves of happiness are bigger one day than they are at other times. But it is not based on circumstances. Joy is based on God’s grace. Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of a person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It is God’s gift to believers. Let’s look at some passages about joy.
James (see Ap – Yeshua’s half-brother James, Jacob or Ya’alov) makes a very unusual statement: Consider it all joy, my brethren, (when everything goes your way? No!) when you encounter various (Greek: poikilos, meaning of various colors, diversified) trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (James 1:2-3). Consider it all joy when trials come your way in different colors. Trials come in all shades and colors . We have already learned that the overflow of God’s grace is joy. They are connected. So, in First Peter 4:10, we learn that as each one of us has received a gift, we are to use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the various colors (Greek: poikilos) of God’s grace. For every color of trouble that comes our way, God has a corresponding color of grace to match it.
The Talmud asserts that, “When the Torah was forgotten from Isra’el, Ezra came up from Babylon and established it” (Talmud Succ. 20a). Ezra came and read from the Torah, which had a shattering impact upon his audience. Just as the reading of the scroll of Deuteronomy triggered a revival under Josiah (see the commentary on Jeremiah Ai – Josiah Ruled For 31 Years from 640 to 609 BC), reading of the Torah scroll triggered the need for everyone to repent. They wept as they confessed their sins. Then, Ezra, the cohen-scribe said to all the people, “Today is kadosh to ADONAI your God. Do not mourn or weep!” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the Torah. But Ezra declared: Do not grieve, for the joy of ADONAI, which flows out of His grace, is your strength (Nehemiah 8:9-10). If you realize that you are losing your joy, focus on your relationship with ADONAI. The key is that joy really isn’t a feeling, but like love, it’s a decision. Joy is a choice. We choose to be joyful. The closer we get to the Lord, the more His joy flows from you. We shouldn’t be as interested in seeking the joy of ADONAI, as much as we should be interested in seeking the ADONAI of joy.
Why should we be full of joy? Well, first of all, He saved us. He has forgiven our sins and redeemed us and lives inside of us. That ought to bring us joy. In the parable of the Lost Sheep (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Hs – The Parable of the Lost Sheep) there was much joy in heaven because one lost person had been found. We ought to be full of joy because of those who have been delivered from addiction. The chains that had them bound have been broken. They don’t live as slaves to that any more. People have been freed from toxic relationships. People who have been freed from their enemies. He has set us free.
How do we express our joyfulness? First, thank ADONAI for what He has done in your life. That makes you focus on His grace and His blessings and gets your mind off of your trials. Secondly, give of what others have given to you. Tithe, yes, but also use your spiritual gift(s) to minister to others. When you use your spiritual gift(s) you will experience much joy. Give others God’s truth, give them hope. Every believer needs to serve in some way or another.
The Ruach ha-Kodesh says to every age: Rejoice in the Lord always – and again I say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4)! This is not a suggestion. It is not a good idea. It’s not something to do if you get around to it. It is a command. Notice what He didn’t say. He didn’t say, “Rejoice in your wealth.” He didn’t say, “Rejoice in your health.” He didn’t say, “Rejoice in your ability to get things done.” All those things are going to pass away. Look at what He said: Rejoice in the Lord always. Living your life joyfully is not an emotion or a feeling, it’s always a choice.
Dear Great Heavenly Father, How much we love and praise You! You are such a joy to know! It is such a joy and blessing to realize that we are freed from earning salvation by works, and can trust in Your atoning work done for us by Your Son as the lamb of God (John 1:29) sacrificed in our place (Leviticus 1:4), bearing our punishment for sin (Hebrews 9:26). For by grace you have saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves – it is the gift of God. It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boost. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
It is so wonderful to meditate on Your awesome character, Your hesed loving-kindness, Your mercy and grace that opened the door to Heaven by Your giving us Your Son as our sin offering and then clothing us in His righteousness. He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (Second Corinthians 5:21).
It is such a joy and comfort to know that no trail will come upon us without Your knowing about it and that Your presence is with us in the trial: For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). Even if the trial is because of what someone else has done to us, we rejoice that your power is greater than any man’s power and so we rest in your love and strength, so that with confidence we say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).
Your Awesome, Magnificent Love causes us to desire to respond back with our joy and to lovingly offer you ourselves – our time, thoughts, finances, relationships and all that we have. We desire to please You with we have and are – for Your eternal glory. In the name of Your Holy Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen