Do disciples have joy even in the face of opposition? Absolutely we do. Jesus is kind and thoughtful. I know that. I am joyful. I am filled with the Holy Spirit who confirms it to me. I am growing joyful fruit. It is a wonderful gift from Jesus, my Master and Owner.
The big picture: Jesus is happy. Jesus is joyful. Jesus has given us the fruit of the Holy Spirt. Note that the disciples joy was not a sometime kind of thing. It was continual. The early disciples were always joyful and happy. It is just who they were, like Jesus. This is where I get to say one of my favorite things. God is in a good mood!
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. | Acts 13:52 (NASB)
It is easy to forget about joy. It is essential in the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes (aka The Jesus Manifesto) traditionally use the word “blessed”. Most translators agree the better translation is “Happy” or “More than Happy”. For the joy that was set before Jesus, he endured the crucifixion. The joy of the Lord is my strength. We have Good News (aka the Gospel). We are a people of hope!
- Acts 16:25 (NASB) — But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NASB) — You also became imitators of us and of the Master, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
The bottom line: The Holy Spirit brings joy to believers, giving us an inner contentment and happiness which is not dependent upon external circumstances. The Greek word is χαρά chara, (khar-ah) meaning calm delight, gladness, be exceeding joyful.
- Am I happy in Jesus?
- Do I experience joy regularly?
- If not, what is going on?
- Do I have calm delight?
1 Peter 4:13–14 (NASB) — But to the degree that you share the sufferings of the Messiah, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of the Messiah, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.