Jesus wants each of us to know the same joy that He knew because of His relationship with the Father. Because of the Holy Spirit, we have access to that same joy. Happiness is temporary and fleeting but the joy that we have is a fruit of the Spirit. Since the Spirit never leaves us, we always have access to that joy.
22 But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness–Gal. 5:22 (NCV)
We also have access to the same love and the same knowledge. As we learn to love Jesus, obedience becomes an act of adoration and not an act of obligation. One of the results of loving Jesus is that we will also love those around us and it will be easy to show them that we love them thus making it easier to obey the command that we should love each other. The Holy Spirit produces love and joy all the time. The question for us is this: If we are not full of love and joy, why not? Maybe we need to check our connection to the flow of the Spirit. Or as Zig Ziglar said (and I paraphrase here) We need a “checkup from the neck up to get rid of stinking thinking and replace it with an attitude of gratitude”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The council meeting in Jerusalem consisted of all the rulers, elders and teachers of religious law. It also included the high priest and several of his relatives. They wanted to discredit Peter and John but the miracle of healing the lame man had been seen by too many and was too well known. They would have preferred some harsh form of punishment but they were afraid that any such action would start a riot. So, they decided to just command them to stop talking about Jesus and never to speak to anyone again in the name of Jesus. After telling Peter and John this and warning them of more harsh punishment in the future, they dismissed them. Peter and John told them they could not stop talking about everything they had seen and heard. As soon as they were dismissed, they returned to the other believers and told them the whole story. As soon as they had heard the story, all the believers lifted their voices and began to pray. They asked God for boldness to preach His Word and that the preaching of the Word would be confirmed with miracles, signs and wonders. When they had finished praying, the building where the meeting was taking place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. They went forth and preached the Word with boldness.
When we are rebuked or offended because we mentioned Jesus, what do we do? Do we react with anger and unkind words or do we pray and respond with the love of Jesus? If we take the time to whisper or even just think a prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide us, giving us the Words to speak and the boldness to speak those words.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1. I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual[b] worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d] 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.-Romans 12:1-3 (NRSV)
Yesterday, I mentioned being obedient unto death because of our love for Jesus. God only requires obedience to that point for a few of His children. But all of us should want to be living sacrifices for Jesus. That requires us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In other words, allowing God’s Holy Spirit to change our thought patterns and habits. This can only happen through the grace of God. We should never think of ourselves as worthless, after all, Christ died for us. But, at the same time, we should never think of ourselves as better than others. Jesus considered them worthy of His death as well. We all say, “O, I don’t think of myself as better than……”. But our thoughts lead to our actions and our actions often betray us and show the world what we are really thinking.