Saturday, June 13, 2009


“Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”
Romans 4:7-8 NLT

Joy and happiness are often used interchangeably. But happiness is usually associated with pleasing experiences such as material gain – success or when things turn out to our liking. On the other hand, joy (as related to The Fruit of the Spirit) is the product of the Holy Spirit’s work in our inner life.

The first experience of that divine joy came when we accepted Jesus as our savior, and the Holy Spirit assured us that our sins were forgiven. “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven.” Do you remember? How could you forget? “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” There is no joy that can compare with knowing we are right with God. All blessings (present and future) flow from that relationship! Having our sins forgiven is so incredible that “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

The Holy Spirit produces joy in us even in times of trouble and trials, because by faith we know the Lord is going to bring good out of it. That is why James tell us, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” The way in which our society is heading, it is very possible that Christians, in the not too distant future, may have to endure costly persecution for our faith. Like Jesus, who “endured the cross, for the joy awaiting him,” the Holy Spirit will produce joy in our hearts as he enables us to see beyond the abuse to the reward that awaits the faithful.

The Bible says that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It’s the strength we need to live a life that encourages others to turn to Christ. It’s the strength we need to “not grow weary in well doing.” It’s the strength we need to face our final hour without fear. C.S.Lewis reminds us “It is not so much the joy of the Lord that we are seeking as the Lord of Joy himself.” It’s when we seek him with all our heart that the Holy Spirit produces divine joy in us.

It reminds me of the little chorus we used to sing years ago.
“Joy, Joy, my heart is full of Joy.
Joy, Joy, my heart is full of Joy.
My savior dear is always near,
That’s the reason why my heart is full of Joy!”

Let’s Pray –
Father, thank you for the joy your Holy Spirit produces in us. Help us to turn from anything that stunts the growth of that divine fruit.

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