Category | Food for Thought

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“…most of us, if asked to explain the biblical concept of joy, might have difficulty clearly defining it. Yet Scripture presents a distinct definition–vastly different from the world’s definition of joy, which is simply happiness…It is associated with hope and life, but the experiences of sorrow also prepare for and enlarge the capacity for joy…

Jesus used the analogy of a woman giving birth to a child (Jn 16:21). During the process of birth, there is much pain and agony. But after the birth, the pain and agony are turned to joy at the sight of the newborn child. Sorrowful experiences enlarge the capacity for joy when they are viewed in terms of their results.

There are three essential biblical features of joy that separate it from the world’s ‘happiness’:
-Joy is eternal.
-Joy is reserved for the believer.
-Joy is a state of mind not dependent on circumstances.

1. Joy is eternal…Joy is an eternal part of the kingdom of God, for it is a part of the nature of the Holy Spirit…
2. Joy is reserved for the believer…’The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’…An unbeliever may manifest semblances of these spiritual fruits, but he cannot experience what believers experience. Apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, true joy cannot exist…
3. Joy is a state of mind not dependent on circumstances. Whereas happiness depends largely on happenings,
good health and so on, joy is inherent within the Christian life (the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.)…Only the hope created by God gives a reason for joy and peace…”

Author: Ronald F. Bridges
Source: “Rediscovering Your First Love” (Here’s Life Publishers, Inc.)

Romans 15:13

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