You can fake happiness but joy can't be faked nor human-engineered. In fact, when Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, which includes joy, he makes sure that we understand that no law kept will produce joy by stating at the end of his list "against such there is no law" (5:23b).
The Holy Spirit produces joy as He fills the inner man with His presence. How does that happen? Just as a surgeon's glove remains useless unless filled by the hand of a surgeon so the believer has to offer himself/herself to the Lord for His filling. The Psalmist equates the presence of God with the presence of joy, "In Your presence is fullness of joy evermore" (Psalm 16:11b). Not only will joy bubble out of the surrendered believer's life but usefulness to the Lord and guidance by the Holy Spirit will become a way of life.
Lack of joy indicates that the Holy Spirit has been grieved by the presence of unrepented sin. Joy, then, is an excellent indicator of the Holy Spirit's presence and activity.
Questions for today's Chronological reading:
- How does God speak and direct the early church?
- How does Elymas use his influence? What does this tell you about those in opposition to church leaders?
- How does Paul respond to Elymas? What does this teach you about how to respond to those in opposition?
- List the points in Paul's message to those in Pisidian Antioch.
- How does Paul prove Jesus' resurrection?
- What does Paul explain about the law?
- How do the towns people and the Jews differ in their response to Paul's message?
- Who do the Jews use to stir things up against Paul?
- What does Paul recognize about the crippled man?
- How do the crowds respond to Paul's healing of the cripple?
- What does this tell you about crowds? about leaders interested in having a large following?
- What do Paul and Barnabas teach the people about the kingdom of God?
Just as the hand of a surgeon transforms a latex glove into something useful so the Holy Spirit transforms the lives of those who offer themselves, by faith, to His filling. Appropriate this truth now by offering yourself to the Lord in surrender and thank Him for His filling.