June 27, 2016

The Holy Spirit and Joy

John 15:1-17

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

—  John 15:11

We often hear the word enjoy—meaning “to receive pleasure from something.” But the word joy isn’t used very often. What exactly is joy?

According to the dictionary, joy consists of a “feeling of great happiness” from “doing, finding, or getting something.” And that sounds a lot like enjoy, receiving pleasure from something!

The Bible speaks of joy quite differently. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and we see how rich joy is in Jesus’ “vine and branches” teaching in John 15. Real joy results from knowing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Real joy has to do with selflessly loving the people around us. In short, real joy has to do with growing in obedience. 

As with all of the fruit of the Spirit, real joy can’t be manufactured through an act of our will. Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, who works in our hearts. We experience deep joy as the Holy Spirit makes the work and knowledge of Jesus become a greater reality in our hearts. And real joy prospers and grows as we grow in our faithfulness to Jesus.

Do you have true joy? If the Holy Spirit is actively working in your life, you absolutely do. You can increase that joy today by asking the Spirit to let your life blossom in obedience and service.

Dear Jesus, forgive us for the times we let others and circumstances rob us of joy. Please send your Holy Spirit to work in us, helping us to know joy and to serve you. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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