Some Christians have received the Holy Spirit and some have not. Some, having received the Holy Spirit, live an unchanged life. Many do not understand God’s thoughts and God’s ways. If you do and accept His promises it can make a tremendous change in one’s life. God wants each Christian to have a happy and joyful life. However, it takes faith to obtain it. When we have the faith, it changes our lives completely.

I was fortunate to play sports from a very early age. Watching others and listening to coaches I learned that one’s attitude made a tremendous difference. When I became a head coach of football, basketball and baseball in a Christian high school, I witnessed the difference and the importance of being confident and never giving up and how it made a big difference. I tried to relate Scripture as I coached and stressed how important faith and perseverance was to winning. Perseverance is giving it your all and unwilling to lose a game. Success requires perseverance.

James 1:2–4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Most of the people you know looking for happiness and joy in their lives? If they are human, they are. How many Christians do you know who have found lasting happiness? Happiness and pleasure is usually a temporary state that we received from favorable external sources. When these external circumstances become unfavorable we often find ourselves unhappy.

We may be happy when we win but unhappy when we lose. We may be delighted when we receive recognition or financial reward. But how long does happiness last? External situations change so often. Happiness can fade rather rapidly. Many times the unhappiest people are those seemingly having everything that most of us are dreaming for; yet, they do not always seem too happy.

Human nature seeks to be happy and joyful. When we find happiness difficult to achieve, many seek addictions as an escape from the frustrations of life. It is our carnal nature or human nature to look to the world for happiness, pleasure and joy. Does an alcoholic find joy in drinking? Does an obese person find happiness in overeating? Many find themselves in an unhappy situation and are looking for ways to change their external surroundings.

The entire world is looking for joy in their lives, as defined in Webster’s dictionary. It is described as an emotional feeling of having good things, living a delightful life and generally having a feeling of gladness. It may be a state of bliss or gaiety. Many come to Las Vegas looking for that kind of joy, happiness and pleasure. How many find it and how long does it last?

We look for joy and happiness in marriage. If happiness fades, we look for other means of finding happiness. We continually ask the question: “How can I become joyful and stay that way?” You may not always find happiness. But, there is a joy that can take the place of happiness.

Many do not realize there are two kinds of joy: worldly joy and spiritual joy. It is unreasonable to think we will always be confronted with pleasant circumstances. But it isn’t unreasonable to expect and to always have joy. There is a joy given by the Holy Spirit. This joy is described as a “fruit” of the Spirit. It is a ‘joy’ that is continuous and is experienced even going through difficult times. This is an inner spiritual joy that comes only from God. Scripture is telling us this joy and happiness which God gives does not come without faith and perseverance.

Show me a Christian who has been given the “fruit of the Spirit” as described in Galatians 5:22-23 and you will see a person who is full of Christ, non-divisive, neither an arguer nor a constant complainer. They have the heart of a servant. They are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The Apostle Paul says it was this inner joy that encouraged him during his times of imprisonment and his many trials. It is this spiritual joy that encouraged Paul to press on and be enthusiastic toward the goal of living for Christ as he encountered difficult external circumstances. We can have the same joy that Paul had, a spiritual joy that keeps us positive through unhappy times.

The joy we are talking about does not come from an abundance of things. It does not come from the externals of life. It can only be received from the Holy Spirit as a “fruit” from Him. Read what Scripture has to say:
1. Acts 13:52 – The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
2. Acts 14:17 – God fills your heart with joy.
3. John 16:22 – Jesus says, “No one will take away your joy.”
4. John 15:16 – “I chose you, (talking to His disciples), and appointed you to bear fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
5. I Peter 1:8 – (Commentary) this spiritual joy possesses the radiance of God’s glory. It is a joy that comes from heaven. It is a joy that can only come from being in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The “fruit of joy” is always dependent upon living a vital relationship with Christ. It cannot be fabricated for it is spiritual and comes from the heart. Having this spiritual joy can keep you from seeking the world’s lusts and pleasures, which so many do. Daily we must die out to this self-centered nature we all have. Focus on Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to help each of us to totally surrender so that we can be filled with joy and happiness.

Normal people do not enjoy trials. In fact, most of us do everything possible to avoid the trials of life. However, James says we are to face trials with joy-pure joy. Do you?

God wants to make us patient and persevering because that is the key to every other blessing. When the believer learns to wait on the Lord, then God can do great things for him. The only way the Lord can develop patience and character in our lives is through trials. It is essential that we go through the difficulties of life, trust God and obey Him. Therefore, when we go through trials we can become bitter or accept them with pure joy knowing it is God’s will and they will build patience and character.

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     /  January 28, 2016

    “Some Christians have received the Holy Spirit and some have not.”
    All Christians have received the Holy Spirit or they are not Christians.
    Romans 8:9 (HCSB)
    9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
    “Show me a Christian who has been given the “fruit of the Spirit” as described in Galatians 5:22-23”
    The fruit of the Spirit is not given like one of the Gifts of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is from the Holy Spirit and is manifested in the life of the believer. All Christians can manifest the fruits of the Spirit, but all believers have differing gifts of the Spirit.
    Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,
    23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (HCSB)
    4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit.
    5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord.
    6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.
    7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:
    8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit,
    9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
    10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages.
    11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.


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