I think many guys are happy. I’ve seen motorcycle rallies full of guys who seem to be having a good time.
They ride their bikes, drink their beers, wear their leather, and for the most part, smile and laugh.
This however, is not joy. Happiness coming from pleasure would come from the Greek word hēdonē, or our English equivalent – hedonism.
When I searched online for the definition “joy,” words such as “happiness” or “contentment” came up. I seems no one can define “joy” without using emotionally-related, temporal words.
When looking up how the word joy is used in the New Testament we find the Greek word “chara,” a close cousin to the Greek word for “grace.”
One of the best examples of joy in the New Testament comes from John 15. In this passage, Jesus Himself explains that He is the “True Vine” and that God will prune any “bad limbs” that do not produce fruit.
After encouraging His followers to stay true to Him, He says in verse 11, “I have told you this so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes your joy will overflow.”
Because Jesus is God, He can illustrate for us all aspects of what it is to be a “real man” including how to be joyful.
To break down the difficult idea of joy we must look at the words of Jesus. The “True Vine” illustrates what it means to have fruit. Spiritual fruit is a natural by-product of the true Christian life.
Therefore, if God’s men do not produce fruit, they do not have the Father and are cut off from the True Vine. If they do not have the Father, they do not know His Son Jesus.
Yet, if we do have fruit, this proves to those around us Whose we are. We show that we know Jesus, thus God is our Father and we have eternal life and indeed, possess and demonstrate real joy.
If we understand that joy and grace are closely related, then to have joy is to understand the grace God has given man by sending His Son as a sacrifice for our sin. Jesus had joy because He had the Father.
We can only have joy if we also have the Father.
Men can laugh and have a great time. We can be happy and feel good about our place in life, but without Christ, we have no lasting contentment.
Without Christ, we cannot understand grace or have the joy only God gives. His joy is much more powerful than the temporal feeling of happiness or pleasure.
Jesus, by His own words, possessed joy and showed it in all areas of life. He was the perfect man and an example for men to follow.
So if you haven’t accepted Christ, read Romans 10:9-10 and offer your life to Him, finally becoming the man God designed you to be. If you have accepted Christ, remember the sacrifice He made for you on the cross.
Understand that Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that it is by grace we are saved, and that true joy comes through sacrificing everything we are to the God who gave everything to us. This is joy and being a “true” man!