Saturday, May 10, 2014
Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study--Joy
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 (emphasis added)
Several times throughout the New Testament, joy is associated with the Holy Spirit so it’s no coincidence that it’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says it simply: “Be joyful always”. Joy is our God-given happiness through our difficulties and our trials (1 Peter 4:12-14). It is a deep happiness that does not fade with time, like the ‘joy’ of this world. It is not due to our circumstances, our possessions, or our positions. It is given to us by God.
I believe there are two parts to receiving this inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8): coming in contact with the Holy Spirit and our belief in Jesus. I’ve come in contact with the Holy Spirit before, and let me tell you, it’s amazing! It definitely brings joy! And though it’s easier said than done, remembering that we have a future hope (Eph. 4:4 NLT) will help us to be joyful in the Lord (Phil. 4:4 NLT), even in the hardest of times. Remember, Phil. 4:13!
First, joy is found when we come in contact with or are filled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts and fills us up, bringing us joy, even in the hard times (Luke 6:23). We experience joy when we are in His holy presence (Acts 2:28). The Kingdom of Heaven’s “about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness.” (Romans 14:17 CEV) In Luke chapter 10, we see Jesus rejoicing. Even He felt this wonderful joy as a human being! Verse 21 tells us He “was filled with joy by the Holy Spirit.” In Acts 10:52 it states, “The believers in Antioch were full of joy and the Holy Spirit.” (bold emphasis added)
Second, the hope and belief we have in our Lord also brings us joy. Just the thought of Someone loving you enough to die for you should make anyone happy! “Let your hope keep you joyful” (Romans 12:12). But truly believing in Him and Who He is and His Word brings His followers joy. “The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord.” (John 20:20b GNT) Even new believers experience the joy of the Lord from the get-go! “He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.” (Acts 16:34b)
Our hope in our Savior and the Spirit's presence is strong enough to give us joy through the toughest time.
I think a good verse to sum up this post is Romans 15:13: “May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(emphasis added)
“In conclusion, my friends, by joyful in your union with the Lord.” (Phil. 3:1a)