This month as we continue our study of the different parts that make up the Fruit of the Spirit, we are exploring the attribute of joy. Many people use the words joy and happiness interchangeably and dictionaries list them as synonyms. Yet in the Bible, the two are quite distinct. Happiness is a state of mind, joy is a mindset, while happiness comes and goes, joy remains constant, and while happiness is dependent and conditional on things going well, joy is not. As priest and professor, Henri Nouwen states, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
Most important of all, while we may find many sources of happiness, as Psalm 16:11 testifies, the fullness of joy is only found in the presence of God. In fact it is only through Him that we, like the Apostle Paul, can learn to be content whatever our circumstances (Philippians 4:11). Russel M. Nelson says it beautifully, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” When we choose to fix our eyes on Jesus and commit to faithfully following him we choose joy.
If you’d like to learn more about the Fruit of the Spirit with us, please join us for our weekly chapels which are held on the last morning of each school week.