Speaking of “joy” (my last blog entry ended with a reference to “joy”), I came to a clearer view last year of “Joy” for the Christ-follower. I have heard teachers and preachers go to great lengths to try and make distinctions between the English words “joy” and “happiness.” I am not convinced a better understanding can be found by doing this. Dictionaries want to define the words in a similar way and often people use them interchangeably. In the world we will see the words happiness, joy, contentment and gladness as states of emotion related to positive events and circumstances. In contrast, the Biblical term “joy” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5). These fruits come out of a Holy Spirit-led life fully identified (those who belong to) in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus only Christ-followers will receive this spiritual joy. It is not based on events and circumstances, and in fact may be magnified to us precisely when trouble itself also comes. Just as the world cannot understand the Spirit of God, so neither can it understand the “fruits” or benefits which accrue to Spirit-led people. As a Christ-follower, I need to cultivate the “fruits” in my life daily (walk, be led, live) gradually becoming less dependent for my “joy” on earthly events and circumstances.