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477. A New Perspective on the Holy Spirit

This article sheds light on the joy of the Holy Spirit.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
When you think of the Holy Spirit, what comes to mind? For me, it’s power. I think of all the biblical accounts of someone doing mighty things in the power of the Spirit. The next thing I think of is the warning not to quench or grieve the Spirit. Other things will eventually come to mind, but only recently did I make the connection between joy and the Holy Spirit. I was studying 1 Thessalonians when something struck me as never before:

You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:6).

In the first place, it always seems odd to connect tribulation with joy (until we understand the big picture). In the second place, of all the things we connect with the Holy Spirit, joy is not at the top of the list. I did some digging and soon found some other similar connections:

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

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Suddenly, what should have been obvious struck me like a new revelation. Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the Spirit, and one of the items listed is joy. Joy is no less a part of the Holy Spirit than power. Neither is love, peace, and all the others. I had understood that if I gave the Holy Spirit complete freedom to manifest Himself in my life, the results would be love, joy, peace, etc. These are the evidence of being filled with the Spirit. I got that. But for some reason, I had never attributed those qualities to Him. It struck me that He could never give us something he didn’t possess for Himself. These qualities represent who He is- an amazingly wonderful person who wants to impart all of himself to us.

AS I SEE IT
How about you? Did you ever connect joy and the Holy Spirit? Have you been suffering from a similar “disconnect?” I hope not, but in case you did, what are we going to do to correct course? The obvious conclusion is that when we allow someone or something to rob us of joy, we’ve allowed someone or something to rob us of the Holy Spirit. How did that happen? The answer is always the same. We have responded in the flesh, and the flesh has absolutely nothing good to offer. Once we understand what we’re up against, we’re well on our way to victory.

So the next time we feel anything but joyful, let’s vow to get our eyes off our situation and re-invite the Holy Spirit to take over, ask for His forgiveness for dismissing Him, and start over. We can’t manufacture joy by some self-help program. If we’ve dismissed the Holy Spirit, we won’t have the power to do anything. All we need is the Holy Spirit. If we allow Him to return, His joy will return, along with His love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Sounds like a sweet deal to me. I think I’ll try it. How about you?

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