I encourage you to let the body of Christ be filled with joy
Out of all the emotions in life, joy ranks amongst the highest. Joy is pleasurable for everyone involved, including those watching on, plus it glorifies God. Joy can range from a simple thought of contentment through to bellows of laughter and excitement.
The apostle Paul, when explaining unity of Jew and Gentile in the church, offered up this one sentence prayer for the believers in Rome. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Paul is saying; God is the source of true joy for the church! He’s speaking of an unpretended resident joy which satisfies and is accompanied by peace. This overshadows all other emotions and grows out of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s not dependent upon circumstances, although circumstances do impact it obviously. It’s a calm inner realisation that all is well because God is in control, and because Christ has paid the price to qualify you for His blessing. This settled realisation of satisfaction in Christ causes contentment that survives life’s greatest pains because of it’s eternal perspective.
How much joy?
This is why Paul asks God to “fill you” with it, so that the pattern of your life would be one which is saturated with His joy, recognising Him as the reason for it. Paul is not asking God for happiness for the believers, but for “all joy.” Only the Lord can gift a believer with gladness that impacts the whole of life, that is flexible enough to endure the greatest trials, and survive the many variations of human emotions. “All joy” ranges from calm contentment to great excitement. It’s present through all the highs and lows because it permeates every other emotion.
Make no mistake; Paul is requesting something big for the body of Christ, which only God could deliver. He’s seeking a state of heart that is evidence of God as its source, accompanied by “peace in believing.” Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord settles the human heart. The spiritual battle is over, resistance is finished, and isolation from God and His church is in the past. Belief transports the saved sinner from separation to the path of peaceful joy.
This heart condition has great diversity in how it is experienced from person to person, from day to day, and circumstance to circumstance. Plus, it’s not intended by God to be a selfish experience. Rather, as joyful peace is a gift from God, it displays His mercy for His glory, therefore it has to be shared. This is because Holy Spirit generated joy is other-minded and inspires joy in other believers.
Out of this world joy
While this may sound too good to be true, we should remember that we cannot generate this of our own ability, rather, it’s “by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Worldly peace which Jesus spoke of in John 14:27 is temporary by nature and dependent upon good circumstances and emotions to keep the sensation going. On the other hand, Holy Spirit generated joyful peace presents itself as a natural product, as a natural fruit of a life controlled by Christ (Galatians 5:22).
Paul concludes; Holy Spirit fuelled joyful peace is purpose designed that “you may abound in hope.” Hope in Jesus Christ is mankind’s only hope for eternal life and security that survives the grave.
I encourage you to let the body of Christ be filled with joy. Share this with another believer to built up their faith, for God’s glory, their blessing, and your joy.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz