For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. —Romans 14:17
Joy is not a happiness that comes from outside things—like a pay raise, a new job, vindication, a letter with good news, or receiving a coveted invitation. It is the Spirit's own witness, indeed the person of the Holy Spirit Himself, coming right inside of you that brings joy. This is why it is called immediate and direct. Joy comes from within. With syllogistic reasoning the Holy Spirit applies the word; we use our minds to apply what we have heard and are thus able safely to conclude that we are going to heaven. But our minds applied the word and then it touched the heart. But this rest of soul—the result of the immediate and direct witness of the Spirit—comes without any reasoning, applying, thinking, deducting, or reflecting. It is the Spirit overruling our minds and going directly to the heart—straight from heaven to the soul. It is an act of God, sovereignly bestowed, and there is not one thing you can do to make it happen. And yet Jesus tells us it is what the Father delights to do for those who ask Him.
One further fruit of this is how the Bible comes alive—you know more than ever that the Bible is the very Word of God. I do not believe one needs the baptism of the Spirit to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but I am certainly saying that it enables you to believe it more than ever! All of it! You know you have not been deceived. You see clearly and without doubt that Christianity is true, the Christian faith is real, and Jesus is real. His resurrection is real.
Joy is knowing you've got it right, not because of how much you have read or how much teaching you have received, but by the presence of the Holy Spirit in power. Nothing at all compares with this.
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).