Scripture Reading: Luke 10:21-24
Our scripture reading today says, “At that time Jesus was filled with joy by the Holy Spirit and said, Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learn. Yes, Father, this was how you wanted it to happened.” (Luke 10-21). Jesus could not keep the joy and satisfaction in Him as the disciples carried out His command to evangelize in His name and even demons obeyed the disciples. Mary and Jesus did not keep their joy within their hearts; they shared the joy and satisfaction in their hearts with the disciples and with you and me. The joy in Jesus was not because the demons obeyed the commands of the disciples neither was it because He saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven: Which father or master will not express inner satisfaction and joy when he sends out his child on an errand and the child carries out his father’s instruction with all sincerity and determination. The father and master now has confidence and trust in his son. With that confidence, his heart is opened to God in thanksgiving for his son. That is the kind of joy that fills the heart of Jesus when you as his disciple fulfills the obligation of God, the obligation of winning souls for the kingdom. One of the obligations of reaching out to the dark world with the Daily Strength Devotional is to turn the world around.
Dear friend in Christ, let the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit fill your heart. Many Christians today find it difficult to accept that joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Such Christians claim that at the heart or center of our faith is a cross and that we ought to give our time to weeping and downcast and not rejoicing. But, Joy remains with us constantly because it is the fruit of the Spirit of God in us. When you are afflicted oppressed, stressed and even isolated for following Christ, look unto Christ who has filled you with the Spirit of the Father. When you are filled with joy, your spirit, soul and body is lifted up in praising God. Sorrow and mourning and weeping should not rub you of the inner joy in your heart. David was always praising God. This is his Psalm of praise after the death of his son: “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High”. (Psalm 9:1-2). It is only the man filled with the inner joy who sees beyond the ordinary that can give praise to God Most High in time of agony and distress. Joy is the common teaching of our Lord Jesus because He knows that without the joy of the Lord the blessing of God for you would be like water pouring on a rock; it does not penetrate because the heart is not prepared for it. Therefore, we cannot receive and appreciate God. It is difficult for a blunt and sad heart to commune with God or even ask the Lord for a blessing. The Lord wants us to be joyful, for when our hearts are filled with joy we can ask and it will be given to us. John 16:24 confirms: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Sadness and depression block your personal communion with God. These elements will surely be there but your ability to rise above them and key into the higher realm of joy makes the difference. You must be different. Pleasure and happiness must have taken your heart as a child or as a teenager; they come and fade away over the years but the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit remains constant; it is not exchanged for temporary satisfaction. The Lord takes much delight in His spirit in you. “The Prophet Zephaniah says this of the Lord’s joy in you: “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing”. (Zeph. 3:17). Is God not wonderful and loving when He delights in you, rejoices over you with singing?
Dear Friends in Christ, let us appreciate this great and wonderful fruit of the Holy Spirit which fills our heart even as we do not deserve or merit it. Joy is begotten by love. It is therefore out of His heart of love that the Lord has filled us with joy; let therefore the joy of the Lord be your strength in all difficulties and challenges of life and be greatly encouraged by Apostle Paul in these words: “I am still full of courage; I am running over with joy. (2 Cor. 7:4). Let us conclude with this saying on what is joy: “Every Christian should be conscious of joy flowing through the soul as a consequence of receiving Christ, so if it is not flowing, something must be blocking it. Clear away the obstacles and joy will flow automatically. If you are conscious you lack this deep abiding joy, then look within. What are the hindrances? Consider them and remove them and joy flow upwards and outwards”.
- Open your heart and sing with Mary the song of inner joy to the LORD in Luke 1: 46 – 55.
- Begin to praise and worship God in your language for the marvelous thing He has done for you.
- Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord to feed and fill you with the fruit of joy.
- You desire joy, you want to live a joyful life; then pray for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for all Christian that they also will be filled and driven by the Holy Spirit.
Exercise: Allow joy from the Holy Spirit to fill your heart to overflowing.
Memory verse: Romans 15:13