But the fruit of the Spirit is… joy…– Galatians 5:22
My family and I lived in Hawaii for seven years. We lived on the island of Kauai, nicknamed “The Garden Island.” In our backyard, we had a lime tree, an orange tree and a few banana trees. Every year, without fail, we enjoyed the fruit that those trees produced. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he used this same agricultural reality as a metaphor to describe the results of being in the Spirit. These are, as he calls them, “the fruit of the Spirit.” His list describes what I should expect to experience as a Christian and see in other Christians. Where the Holy Spirit is, these Spiritual characteristics, to some extent, will be present also.
Paul’s list is not set forth in a loose and arbitrary way. There is a purposeful order and inter-connectedness. Love is the first fruit and out of love flows joy; and out of love and joy flows peace, etc.
Joy is the disposition of one’s personality toward cheerfulness that is rooted in Christ. And since joy is a fruit of the Spirit, we may rightly conclude that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, is not a grump – or a Scrooge, or a Grinch. He is God. And God is joyful. That is why, when the people in Nehemiah’s day wept over their sins, he comforted them with this very truth. He said, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah8:10b).
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that the Spirit’s fruit of joy would be present and growing in your life and repent if you’ve given the impression to others that the Spirit is a grump.