Friday, February 20, 2009


Have you ever experienced a sense of joy? Maybe the sun was shining as a breeze kissed your face under a blue sky. Maybe you listened to crickets while gazing at starry heavens. You realized that you had a feeling of peace, security and contentment. But something else was there. A smile rose on your face as you realized you had joy in your heart!

When Paul was witnessing to the curious people of Lystra, he testified about God, "...He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy" (Acts 14:17). Even these pagan people, who wanted to worship Barnabas and Paul, calling them Zeus and Hermes, had experienced joy in their hearts. God loves us all, and has poured out enough food and joy for everyone. (I have a theory that the enemy, working through people, usually causes a disproportionate imbalance to the distribution of God's many precious gifts to his creation - There's enough food for everyone, but all kinds of "Satanic deterrents" from personal laziness and greed, to cruel governments drive us down a path of resistance to the Holy Spirit and rejection of God's purpose for ourselves.)

Although the Greek word in Acts 14 is different than the one in Galatians 5 for example, "the fruit of the Spirit is... joy," Acts 14 is the same as Acts 2, "you will fill me with joy in your presence..." There is still a connection between the presence of God and this kind of joy - gladness, and a good frame of mind. If God fills pagan hearts with joy, if he exposes them to such a degree of his presence, what does he do for believers?

Jesus promised his disciples a joy that would be full, or complete. This is beyond the joy of the pagan. Pagans live in ignorance of the presence from which they derive their joy. Believers have the privilege of knowing the source of their joy. When you know the source of something, a couple of things happen:

1. You know where to go get some more!
If you're out of anything from toothpaste to mustard, knowing where to go to replenish your stock is important. Those who serve the Lord have the opportunity to tap into the source of their joy - the ever available supply of supernatural joy in the Holy Spirit!

2. You know who to thank for what you have!
Pagans can thank their lucky starts for the brief moments of joy they experience as they grope through the darkness. Believers can thank the Creator of the universe, the LORD God Almighty for the joy he has given them! Gratitude to the Source always results in more and more helpings of that for which you are grateful!

Joy in the Holy Spirit
Look at the previous posts on the Holy Spirit from this week. Realize joy is one more benefit and blessing that comes by way of the Spirit's fullness in your life. If you're filled with the Holy Spirit, you'll be filled with joy. Not only can you potentially go beyond pagan joy into believer joy. You can also go from believer joy into Spirit-Filled Believer Joy! Go beyond speaking in tongues and prophesying, beyond power to witness. Be filled with the Holy Spirit to experience joy beyond joy!

[Photo by John Whittington]

Luke 10:21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit...

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit...

1Thessalonians 1:6
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

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