The Christian's life should be characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit. One of the fruit listed in Gal.5:22 is the fruit of JOY.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I have seen many unhappy believers not having the JOY of the Holy Spirit being manifested. The opposite of walking in the Fruit of the Holy Spirit is to walk in the fresh. Paul tells us to walk in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the desires of the flesh. One of the desires of the flesh is sorrow. Sorrow is an ungodly grief birthed mainly out of selfishness. However, there is a Godly sorrow. The ungodly, fleshly sorrow of the flesh leads to self-piety and can lead to depression. The Godly sorrow leads us to the Joy of the Lord as an end result. In our spiritual lives, a godly sorrow for our sins can be a wonderful thing. Paul speaks of its benefits in 2 Corinthians 7:10.
2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
When we realize how we have fallen short of the righteousness and holiness of God, how we have offended Him, how we have rejected His will and rebelled against the One who is so loving and kind, it should generate remorse within our hearts. It should cause us grief, shame, and sorrow to sin against the Holy One of Israel.
Such sorrow is good if it brings us to repentance. It is beneficial if it causes us to humble ourselves, confess our sins, seek His gracious forgiveness, and motivate us to make the decision to change our ways. These steps lead us to the obtaining of salvation of the full man. God desires that we have this kind of sorrow and remorse. This kind of sorrow is essential in getting us to where we should be in a holy walk and lifestyle. We should feel about sin the way the Father feels about sin. When this happens and we repent, we experience the Joy of the Lord.
However, this is opposite of the ungodly fleshly sorrow, which is not from God nor is it the will of God. This sorrow is counter-productive. This is excessive sorrow or despair. Brothers and sisters, it is destructive when we continue to feel grief, guilt, shame and sorrow AFTER we have been convicted of our sins, AFTER we have confessed them to God, AFTER we have sought forgiveness and made the commitment to change. This means we are not trusting God and His Word about what He says about our lives in Christ. After confession and forgiveness, God wants to replace the grief and sorrow with holy gladness and joy.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.