But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...
If love was a special kind of love, then joy is not mere happiness. I have been happy in my life many times but happiness is ephemeral is is replaced by sadness as circumstances change, but joy is everlasting. Knowing that my savior loves me and gave his life for me brings me a joy unspeakable. Words cannot contain it.
On the night that I was baptized I was shaking with joy, my emotions were running high. I was excited, pleased, exhilarated and overwhelmed, but none of these are necessary for me to be joyful.
The evening that I was converted, when I realized that the minister was talking directly to me, I shivered with emotion, but that was not necessary for me to be joyful.
On the day that I walked on Hengistbury Head, the wind rushing through my hair and a different minister explained to me the doctrines of grace and I understood for the first time that I was not responsible in the slightest way for my salvation, but that Jesus had done everything, I was crushed with joy. But that was not necessary for me to be joyful.
There is a picture of me on my wedding day. I look like the cat that got the cream. You can see a photograph of me holding my first child. And my second third and fourth children. They are pictures of joy. I remember my children's graduations, their marriages, my grandchildren being born, when they got promoted at work, seeing them on television; these things all made me proud and full of joy.
I know that when I die I shall see the Lord. I know that I will be welcomed into heaven for His sake (not for mine, never for mine). But it is not for some future benefit that I am joyful. I am full of joy for the Spirit's presence here and now. I know that whatever hard times I may pass through (and I have passed through difficult days) he is with me like the Good Shepherd. The 23rd Psalm is a great comfort and everybody thinks it refers to Jesus. But Jesus was here bodily for 33 years 2000 years ago. He ascended into heaven and sent his Spirit instead. The one who stands alongside us, who carries us when we are winded and wounded, whose rod and staff, they comfort me is the Holy Spirit. That's who brings us joy.