Yes, joy is most certainly is experienced in my relationship with Jesus! I have good news. I want to shout it out.
My love for the Messiah is not based on physical sight, because I have not seen Him. It is based on my spiritual relationship with Him and what the Word has taught me about Him.
And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. | 1 Peter 1:8–9
The Holy Spirit has poured out God’s love into my heart (Rom. 5:5), and I return that love to Him. When you find yourself in some trial, and you hurt, immediately lift your heart to the Messiah in true love and worship.
Because this will take the poison out of the experience and replace it with healing medicine.
Satan wants to use life’s trials to bring out the worst in us, but God wants to bring out the best in us. If we love ourselves more than we love the Messiah, then we will not experience any of the glory now. The fire will burn us, not purify us.
I must live by faith and not by sight. An elderly lady fell and broke her leg while attending a summer Bible conference. She said to the pastor who visited her, “I know the Master led me to the conference. But I don’t see why this had to happen! And I don’t see any good coming from it.”
Wisely, the pastor replied, “Romans 8:28 doesn’t say that we see all things working together for good. It says that we know it.”
Faith means surrendering all to God and obeying His Word despite circumstances and consequences. Love and faith go together: when you love someone, you trust him. And faith and love together help to strengthen hope; for where you find faith and love, you will find confidence for the future.
How can we grow in faith during times of testing and suffering?
The same way we grow in faith when things seem to be going well: by feeding on the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Our fellowship with Jesus through His Word not only strengthens our faith, but it also deepens our love. It is a basic principle of Christian living that we spend much time in the Word when God is testing us and Satan is tempting us.
You may not be able to rejoice over the circumstances, but you can rejoice in them by centering your heart and mind on Jesus the Messiah. Each experience of trial helps us learn something new and wonderful about our Savior. Abraham discovered new truths about the Lord on the mount where he offered his son (Gen. 22). The three Hebrew children discovered His nearness when they went through the fiery furnace (Dan. 3). Paul learned the sufficiency of His grace when he suffered with a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12).
Note that the joy He produces is “unspeakable and full of glory.” This joy is so deep and so wonderful that we cannot even express it. Words fail us! Peter had seen some of the glory on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus discussed with Moses and Elijah His own impending suffering and death (Luke 9:28–36).
- 1 Peter 1:8–9 — 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
- John 15:7–11 — 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
- Hebrews 12:22–24 — 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
- Revelation 19:7 — 7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
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