WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOURCE OF JOY?

What is our greatest source of joy? Paul pointed to the Holy Spirit:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Sadly, many church people believe they are saved but have never been born again of the Holy Spirit. Unless a person has truly repented of their sin and rebellion against God and understood and accepted what Jesus Christ has achieved for them by dying on The Cross and then given testimony of dying to self by being baptised then they have not received the Holy Spirit to enable them to live the Christian life.

Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the third person of the Trinity to be our Counsellor, Comforter, and Healer. He provides the gifts of the Holy Spirit for ministry. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for you to use how you want. They have specific purposes for God’s Kingdom. They are intended to glorify God by revealing more of who He is and displaying His sovereignty and power over all things.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another, the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another, various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Back to JOY: commenting on chara, the Greek Word usually rendered “joy” in this passage, the United Bible Societies’ translation handbook advises, “In some languages, joy is essentially equivalent to ‘causes people to be very happy.’ In order to indicate that this joy is not merely some passing experience, one may say ‘to be truly happy within their hearts.’ In some languages, joy is expressed idiomatically as ‘to be warm within one’s heart,’ or ‘to dance within one’s heart.’”

The beauty of God’s creation is a major source of joy

If it seems that the translators are taking liberties by saying “happy” instead of “joyful,” note that the other eight adjectives perfectly correspond to the nouns used in the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible. Chara is the only Greek word in this passage rendered differently by the CEV translators. Their goal was faithfulness to the original language. “Joy” is a good translation of chara, but so too is its synonym “happiness.”

Some suggest that the order of the ninefold fruit of the Spirit is significant and that love is named first because “the greatest . . . is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). If this is true, then joy’s position as the second listed might imply it’s the second greatest.

Why does Paul emphasize joy and the other eight components of the Spirit’s fruit in the context of his attack on legalism in Galatians? Reading between the lines, we might surmise that joy was too rare among the Christians there, as it often is today.

Joy, along with the fruit of the Spirit, stands in contrast to the works of the flesh (see Galatians 5:19-21). Only new life in Christ equips the believer to walk in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-18, 24-25).

The permanence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in our lives allows us to continually access supernatural joy/happiness. To be robbed of the ability to rejoice or of the source of joy, a believer would have to be robbed of our joyful God’s indwelling.

adapted from an article “The Fruit of the Spirit Are Ingredients of Happiness” August 3, 2020, by Randy Alcorn – http://www.patheos.com

LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

The Christian life is supernatural but not magical. God does not make us happy when we make work, sports, leisure, or sex into our idols. If we choose to seek happiness elsewhere, the Holy Spirit will not force Himself on us. And He certainly won’t give us happiness in what’s not from Him.

GOD IS A TRINITY AND MAN, MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE IS A TRINITY: BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT

We must understand that Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell the Spirit of every believer. The third person of the Trinity takes up residence in your Spirit. He is our counsellor, teacher, and comforter. He enables you to live the Christian life and we are clearly told that we can grieve Him and quench His work in our life.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.Ephesians 4:30

Do not quench the Spirit.1 Thessalonians 5:18

He will open up God’s Word to you each day if you ask Him. He will guide your steps each day if you ask Him. Only then will joy and happiness envelop your life.

Our actions must be in concert with our prayers—we should pray to find happiness in God and then take the kind of actions that will help us find happiness in God.

Some people who claim to be Christians say, “I thought I would experience joy in the Christian life, but I never have.” Is that because they spend hours a day on social media but “don’t have time” to join a home Bible study? Do they fill their day with activities but not regular times with God? Why do they expect to be happy in God when they are not choosing to spend time with Him and to do what they can to learn, study, and discuss who God is, what He has done, and what He’s doing?

Adapted from an article by Randy Alcorn Finding Happiness in God is not Automatic – Patheos

HAPPINESS AND HOLINESS

“Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.” Charles Spurgeon. Indeed, holiness is exactly what secures our happiness.

To be holy is to see God as He is and to become like Him, covered in Christ’s righteousness. And since God’s nature is to be happy, the more like Him we become in our sanctification, the happier we will be. Forcing a choice between happiness and holiness is utterly foreign to Scripture. If it were true that God wants us to be only holy, wouldn’t we expect Philippians 4:4 to say, “Be holy in the Lord always” instead of “Rejoice in the Lord always”?

The Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and many others used the words happy and happiness frequently in biblical, theological, and Christ-centered contexts. When they called on believers to be happy, they weren’t speaking of happenstance or chance, but of enduring delight and pleasure and good cheer in Jesus.

Sadly, Bible teachers such as Oswald Chambers saw people trying to find happiness in sin so they came to think that pursuing happiness is sinful. Chambers said, “Joy is not happiness,” and continued, “There is no mention in the Bible of happiness for a Christian, but there is plenty said about joy” (God’s Workmanship, and He Shall Glorify Me, 346). I respect and have been blessed by Oswald Chambers publications such as My Utmost for His Highest, but statements like this are misleading. It simply is not true. In the King James Version, which Chambers used, Jesus tells his disciples, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17 KJV). Speaking of faithful Christians, James said, “We count them happy which endure” (James 5:11 KJV). Peter said to fellow believers, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14 KJV) and “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye” (1 Peter 4:14 KJV). I am not sure what Oswald Chambers thought of these verses but it seems clear God wants us to be happy but we can only be happy when we are in close relationship with Him and obedient to His Word and call.

LIFE IS MEANT TO BE JOYFUL

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.Psalms 32:1

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7

“We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

Until Christ cures this world, our happiness in Christ will be punctuated by sorrow. Yet somehow an abiding joy is possible even in suffering. Jesus tells us in one of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.Luke 6:21b

“There is nothing dreary and doubtful about [life]. It is meant to be continually joyful. . . . We are called to a settled happiness in the Lord whose joy is our strength” (Frank Houghton, Amy Carmichael).

Morning Prayer: Pick me up Lord, and hold me in your loving arms. Protect me from the pressures of the day …

Spoken by the missionary Amy Carmichael (1867–1951), who brought the gospel to countless children she rescued from temple prostitution in India. She experienced much physical suffering and didn’t have a furlough in fifty-five years and yet she could say life is meant to be continually joyful.

Happy people look beyond their difficult circumstances to the One whose grace brings light to the darkness and smiles to our faces in the most unlikely moments A.W. Tozer in his book Who Put Jesus on the Cross?

“The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! People should be coming to us constantly and asking the source of our joy and delight”

Blessed are those who mourn; [for] God will comfort them!” (Matthew 5:4) Present happiness is derived from the promise of future comfort. The eternal perspective of God’s children informs them of true and ultimate happiness they can anticipate now (see Psalm 16:11; 21:6; 36:7–10; 37:16, 43:4; 73:28; John 10:10).

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalms 51:10-12

The Abundant Life God Promises

No doubt, you have heard, as I have, messages from prominent preachers promising you health, wealth and happiness through coming to Jesus. There are verses in the 66 books of the Bible that support this premise but there is plenty of evidence in the scriptures and lives of Christians including the Apostles, that present a very different view.

“They were stoned, they were sawn into two, they were killed with the sword…..destitute, afflicted, mistreated” Hebrews 11:37

There is happiness that comes from the abundant life God promises to the believer (John 10:10). Moreover the Gospel has transformed societies and even nations with amazing benefits. Peace and joy does come from the indwelling Holy Spirit that assures us our sins are forgiven, FOREVER and as our relationship  with God deepens our lives are transformed into the likeness of Jesus.

In a real sense, the benefits are a side effect of the Gospel. They are an adjunct to the main game, which is all about God and the eternal relationship He desires with us.

We trust God and His Word and look forward to the promised New Heaven and New Earth. In the meantime we get on with accomplishing His plan and purpose for our lives.