Wednesday, February 6

Filled with joy

Scripture: Leviticus 1-3, Acts 13

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.


Paul and Barnabas come to Psidian Antioch (in modern Turkey) and share the gospel in the Jewish synagogue.  They told the Jesus story and announced that in Him, their sins were forgiven and they were set free from everything that the law had been unable to free them from.  The message was well received, and they were invited back, and the following week, a huge crowd gathered to hear more.  Immediately, the jealous Jewish leaders began to resist, and Paul told them they would go to the Gentiles.  When the gospel quickly began to spread through the whole region, the Jewish leaders instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of the region.

You’d think this would be a death blow to the incipient Christian movement in Psidian Antioch.  But it wasn’t.  The new disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.  And when Paul and Barnabas pass through on their return journey, the church is alive and well and they appoint elders.


Two thoughts about being filled with joy.

First, it was in spite of the trouble they were facing.  This verse follows immediately after the news that their leaders and mentors had been driven out of town.  They were facing similar opposition.  But in spite of the trouble, they were filled with joy.  Joy in this world is always in spite of something.  Joy doesn’t come from the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.  

Second, it was because they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  Catholic theologian Teilhard De Chardin famously said, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”  Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  And Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)  

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with joy.  Joy is more than happiness.  It is a zest for life.  It is a buoyant optimism.  It is undimmed gratitude.  It is the presence of God.

Want more joy?  Get more Jesus!  Be filled with His Spirit!

Prayer: Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and with joy today!!