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  • Renée Coventry

Joy: A Spirit-Filled Walk, Day 3

Stop for a moment and consider the following verses:

1 Pt. 4:13, "But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation."

James 1:2, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials."

Ps. 126:5, "Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shoutings."

Heb. 12:2, "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hmmm. It appears as though joy in the life of a believer is directly linked to suffering, trials, tears, and even a cross – and these are only a few of the verses specifically referencing joy. But this should be no surprise. Yesterday, we read that love lays down its life for a friend, a dying to self. We're only two into the fruit of the Spirit, yet a pattern already emerges that paints a picture requiring death to self. Never easy and often excruciating, we see Christ setting the example for us in laying down His life so that our relationship with the Father and others might be restored.

Now consider:

1 Chron. 16:27, "Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy are in His place."

When we die to ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, we find God on the other side, providing us His joy. The joy that looks forward, never back, in anticipation of all that our future holds in Christ. As Jesus looked forward to the future relationship His sacrifice would provide for those who believe, we, too, must look past the temporal to see the eternal benefits awaiting us. It is when we can prophetically look into the future that we can take joy in the present because we know that He is not only there but is actively preparing a place for us (John 14:3).

1 Pet. 1:8-9, "And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Rom. 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

John 15:22, "Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."

Why could the early Christians face down beasts and tormentors? Because they knew the outcome of this temporal life is secure in Christ. No matter what we experience, our joy cannot be stripped of us. We may sometimes be tempted to succumb to the enemy's tactics, but he cannot take your joy; you can only surrender it. And what a shame that would be, given that we already know the end result! Psalm 118:24 states, "This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." No matter what today holds, whether we are transitioning from one place to another, enduring sufferings, or basking in blessings, we must choose to walk in joy.

This type of joy, though, only characterizes a life walked out in the Spirit. It's not human nature to rejoice in tribulation and smile amid persecution. Such a transformation can only be realized by allowing the Spirit to have His way. So today, take the time to meditate on the following encouraging Scriptures.

Ps. 33:21, "For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name."

John 16:24, "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full."

Ps. 5:11, "But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You."

Ps. 71:23, "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul, which You have redeemed."

You, my friend, because of Jesus' blood, are redeemed, cleansed, justified, sanctified, and have been given access to the Creator of all the earth, who loves you. Therefore, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" (Phl. 4:4).

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