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Joy’s Stepping Stones

“You received the word… with the joy of the Holy Spirit”. 1 Thess.1:6

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, the effect of His ministry in our hearts. Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NIV). It’s by the power of the Holy Spirit that we experience the joy of salvation and are enabled to rejoice even in the midst of trials. The Spirit uses His Word to create joy in our hearts. Romans 15:4 speaks of the endurance and encouragement that come from the Scriptures; the next verse says that God gives endurance and encouragement. God is the Source; the Scriptures are the means. The same truth applies to joy. Verse 13 speaks of God filling us with joy and peace as we trust Him. How would we expect God to do this? The reasonable answer is by means of the Scriptures. When I’ve experienced the Lord’s discipline, Hebrews 12:6 has been a means of restoring joy: “The Lord disciplines the one he loves.” When I was once experiencing a severe trial, Psalm 50:15 became a source of comfort: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (NIV). On another occasion when I thought my future looked bleak, I was enabled to rejoice in the Lord through the assurance of Jeremiah 29:11, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (NIV). The Spirit will use these words to promote our joy if they’re in our hearts through regular exposure to and meditation upon them.

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