Often when we think of joy, we think of an emotion. We have been conditioned to think that joy is a response to something good that has happened.
We assume that when things go right in our lives, joy will come automatically. Because we believe that joy is an emotion, we make the mistake of thinking it cannot be controlled. We tend to believe that if we are in the midst of pain or hardship, that it is impossible to be joyful during that season.
Joy is something good for us and it is something that can be produced in us. Holy Spirit can produce joy in our hearts that can nourish our soul ⎯ even in the darkest of circumstances.
God created the nature of joy (as well as love, patience, goodness, and all the other fruits of the spirit) to be a product of our relationship with Him. As we walk with the Father we learn to cultivate joy, and consequently enjoy its sweetness during every season of our lives.
Joy, like any other fruit, requires intentional choice. In order to reap it we have to make a conscious decision to do so.