"But the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit,[the work which His presence within accomplishes] -- is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness; (meekness, humility) gentleness, self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such there is no law [that can bring a charge]." Galations 5:22,23 Amplified Bible
The book of Galations was written by Paul during his first
missionary journey, during which he spent two years preaching
and teaching the Gospel in the Galatian locale. This letter is
believed to have been written in 49 A.D., although some
historians place it between 53 and 56 A.D. Paul began his
ministry to the Gentiles about 14 years after his encounter with
Jesus on the road to Damascus in or around 35 A.D, when he was
converted. His three missionary journeys totalled nine years. His
Roman custodies and imprisonments began in 60 A.D., and he
was beheaded in 68 A.D.
It seems that some "judaizers" -- that is, those who thought
that one had not only to believe in the saving grace of Jesus
Christ to be saved, but also follow the Mosaic Law and undergo
circumcision -- had infiltrated the Church at Galatia with this
teaching, thus putting them into the bondage of a Gospel of works rather than simply salvation by grace. When one is truly a follower or Jesus Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit produces the fruits of a life lived in righteousness.
The first church council, of which Paul was a participant, was held in Jerusalem after Paul's first missionary journey to settle the matter. He then writes to the Galatians,"For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love." Galations, 5:6, Amplified Bible. He tells them to be led only by the Spirit in how they live; to put off the sinful nature and let the Holy Spirit produce fruits of righteousness in their lives.
LOVE. The first of these fruits is love. The Greek word used here for "love" is agape, which means divine love."(It is) a strong, ardent, tender, compassionate devotion to the well-being of someone." Dake's, New Testament, May 1983 edition, p.206, col.1, note c1.
Both here and in the well-known "love" chapter in 1Corinthians, chapter 13, Paul tells us that this kind of love has 9 ingredients:
"1. Patience - love passive: no hurry; suffers long; bears, believes, hopes and endures all things (v, 4, 7) 2. Kindness - love in action: never acts rashly or insolently; not inconsistent, puffed up, or proud ( v 9)
3. Generosity - love in competition: not envious or jealous (v 4)
4. Humility - love in hiding: no parade; no airs; works then retires (v 4)
5. Courtesy - love in society: does not behave unseemly: always polite; at home with all classes; never rude or discourteous (v 5)
6. Unselfishness: love in essence: never selfish, sour or bitter; seeks only good of others; does not retaliate or seek revenge ( v 6)
7. Good temper - love in disposition: never irritated; never resentful (v 5)
8. Righteousness - love in conduct: hates sin; never glad when others go wrong; always gladdened by goodness to others; always slow to expose; always eager to believe the best; always hopeful, always enduring (v 6-7)
9. Sincerity - love in profession: never boastful and conceited; not a hypocrite; always honest; leaves no impression but what is strictly true; never self-assertive; does not blaze out in passionate anger, nor brood over wrongs; always just, joyful and truthful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present"
Dake's,New Testament, May 1983 edition, p.186, col. 1, note g.
Our fallen natures will often fail here, but as we grow in sanctification by the Holy Spirit in the Christian life, it becomes more and more natural to feel this way towards others.
JOY.The Greek work used here for joy is chara, which Dake's defines in a biblical sense: "The emotional excitement, gladness, delight over blessings received for self and for others." Dake's, New Testament, May 1983 edition, p.206, note c2. We might think of it in a worldly sense, such as when something exceedingly special happens in a life -- a wedding, a new baby, or blessing of something long-awaited for. This is an emotion we feel regardless of our earthly circumstances.
Dake's lists instances of joyful biblical events in the New Testament as follows (events with Bible references only; explanations mine):
"1. The magi (Mt. 2:10) : This was prophesied in the Old Testament in Numbers 24:17, "...there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel ..." " This refers to Christ, who will rule the true Israel into eternity.
2. Elisabeth (Lk.1: 41-45) When Mary, newly pregnant with the Christ child, went to visit her cousin Elisabeth who was 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist, the baby in Elisabeth's womb was instantly filled with the Holy Spirit and lept in her womb for joy.
3. Mary (Lk. 1:46-56) This series of verses is often referred to as 'The Magnificat', where Mary declares that her soul magnifies the Lord for the great things He has done unto her, and that her spirit rejoices in God her Saviour. She is filled with joy and wonder that all generations shall call her blessed, in spite of her low estate in the world's eyes.
4. Zacharias (Lk.1: 64-79) This was John the Baptist's father, who was unbelieving of the angel Gabriel's pronouncement that he in his old age shall have a child, and so was struck dumb. But when the time for the child's circumcision came, his tongue was loosed and he declared that the child's name would be John. Zecharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and declared that this child, John the Baptist, shall go before the Lord Jesus Christ to prepare His ways, and give knowledge of salvation of His people by the
remission of their sins, and give light to them that sit in darkness.
5. Shepherds (Lk. 2:20) This refers to the angel of the Lord who appeared to the shepherds tending their flocks, who then went into Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the Christ child lying in a manger.
6. All people (Lk. 2:10) Where the angel said unto the shepherds, 'Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.'
7. The seventy (Lk. 10:17) In addition to the apostles, here Christ commissioned seventy disciples and sent them in pairs to go and preach the Gospel. They returned 'with joy' that even the devils [were] subject to them in His name.
8. Father and servants (Lk. 15:24) This refers to the parable of the Prodigal Son, where his father rejoices that his 'son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' For the son repented of his sins, saying he had 'sinned against heaven, and in thy sight', and was not even worthy to be called his father's son; but, his father forgave him and welcomed him back into the family fold.
9. Angels at repentance (Lk. 15:10) This refers to the parable of the Lost Coin, where a woman finds the one coin she lost out of ten coins she had in her possession, and rejoiced with others after having found it. 'Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.'
10. Zaccheus (Lk. 19:6) This passage refers to the conversion of Zaccheus, a rich man who, out of curiousity, climbed up into a sycamore tree to better see Jesus as He passed through Jericho. When Jesus said He must today abide at Zaccheus' house, he received Jesus with joy.
11. A triumphal entry (Mt. 21:9) This refers to Jesus' entry into Jerusalem where the multitudes praised Him with "Hosanna in the highest," and laid branches down on the road before him. It fulfills the prophecy made in Zechariah 9:9: "...Behold, they King cometh unto thee, meek and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass."
12. At the resurrection (Mt. 28:8) The two Marys and Mary Magdelene went to the tomb where Jesus was laid after his death by crucifixion, where they saw the angel who told them, "He is not here: for he is risen, as He said." Mt. 28:6 The angel told them to quickly go into Galilee, where they would see him. They went to bring his disciples word.
13. At His appearance (Lk. 24:41) This is where Jesus appears to the ten; Thomas is absent and Judas has hung himself. He bid them peace but they were terrified; He showed them His hands and His feet, "and while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat?" Lk. 24:41 After He had eaten before them, He opened their hearts with understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
14. At His ascension (Lk.24:52) "And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy..." Lk. 24: 51,52
15. Whole church (Acts 2:46; 15:3) Acts refers to the acts of the apostles. " And they (the early church) continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart," Acts 2.46 When Paul and Barnabas were sent on their way "by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren." Acts 15:3
16. Lame man healed (Acts (3:8) A man lame from birth was healed by Peter. He took the lame man by the hand, lifted him up, and all his feet and ankle bones received strength. "And he leaping up stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God." Acts 3:8
17. New converts (Acts 8:8; 13:52) Here, Philip has gone to Samaria and preached the Gospel of Christ unto them. They drove out unclean spirits, and healed others that were lame and taken with palsies. "And there was great joy in that city." Acts 8:8 When Paul and Barnabas were expelled from Antioch in Pisidia due to persecution against them and their teaching, they "shook off the dust of their feet against them", "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." Acts 13:52
18. Paul (2 Cor. 2:3; 7:4, 13) Referring to his former epistle to the Corinthians, where he admonished them; he now writes that "having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all." 2 Cor. 2:3 "Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I an exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." 2 Cor. 7:4 Next is reference to God's care of the Conrinthians, and their turning back to God, "Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all." 2 Cor 7:13 Titus was one of the disciples.
19. All Christians (1Peter 1:8) Peter, writing to the believers in Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, with gladness for their acceptance of the the Gospel and the fruits thereof, including the endurance of persecution, writes, "Whom (Jesus) having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1Peter 8,9).
20. Christ (Heb12:2; Jn.15:11) The author of this book is unknown, but he writes to the Hebrew believers in Christ, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:2
In John 15:11, Jesus is talking to His apostles. He is the vine, His Father is the husbandman, and He purges those branches which do not bear fruit. He talks about the necessity of believing in Christ to be saved, and to bear good fruit -- keeping His commandments and so abiding in His love. "These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11 " Dake's New Testament, May 1983 edition, p.62, col.1
These are all biblical causes for joy that reach far above earthly circumstances. They all center around marvelous Christian events and, most importantly, Christ Himself -- from His conception to His resurrection -- and the subsequent spreading of the Gospel. The apostle Paul speaks of a "...soul assured of its salvation though Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is..." (Amplified Bible, N.T., Philippians 4:7). It is that sort of joy that takes root deep within us and does not fade.
When, through the Holy Spirit -- for it can only come from God -- we are truly repentant for our sins with an understanding of our sinful state as children of Adam, and that only through Jesus Christ, through His blood shed for us on the cross at Calvary, can we have salvation; when we are "broken and spilled out"; when we turn and begin to live our lives for Jesus Christ, seeking always to please Him, then and only then can we have true joy in the Lord.