And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.– Acts 13:52
It’s hard to imagine that we could be filled with joy after being expelled from a city as Paul and Barnabas were just prior to this verse of scripture. To be slandered, mistreated, stoned, persecuted, forsaken of family and friends, wronged, falsely accused, etc. and still be filled with joy seems insane. And the Holy Bible does not say that they were just a little bit joyous, no, they were Filled with it! These men, these first disciples of Christ, forsook all to follow Him. Forsook All! Leaving house, family, comforts, jobs, everything they ever knew- to go and proclaim the gospel! They faced uncertainty at every turn, everyday, yet they were Filled with joy!
Fast forward to today and we will find that most of us are blessed with all of the common modern conveniences and delights the world has to offer! We have shelter, we have food, a steady source of income, a church family and the list goes on. Most of us have forsaken very few of our comforts in order to follow Jesus! When we give up something in service to God, however, we will be sure to pat ourselves on the back (I digress as that is an entirely different matter deserving of its own article). Yet here we are today, most of us anything but joyous, despite all of these things we continue to hold on to!
Instead, we are an anxious group of complainers who seem set on doing things our way! We complain about traffic, we complain about our job, we complain about politics, we complain about the way we look, we complain that we don’t have enough, we complain that we have too much! We are anxious for tomorrow, we are anxious about today, we are anxious about what others think of us, we are anxious about what we think of them, we are anxious regarding our government, we are anxious! We want what we want, when we want it, how we want it, as much or as little as we want we want! Where is our joy? Where is our thanksgiving? Where is our faith? Where is our obedience? Where is our trust? Where is our hope found? Where is the Holy Ghost?
Where is the Holy Ghost? It will be hard to sense Him! It will be hard to hear Him! It will be certainly impossible to be filled with Him if we are not following Jesus as directed in His Holy Word! And if we are not filled with the Holy Ghost we will not be filled with joy! When we deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him daily we will see the tides turning from anxious, self-fulfillment seeking, complaining to joyous, dying to self in service to the will of God- Holy Ghost living that will enable us to be rejected, mocked, scorned, ridiculed, cast out of cities, forsaken of others, and falsely accused all while maintaining a joy joy joy down in our hearts accompanied by a supernatural peace that surpasses understanding.