A Life Filled With Joy
Daily Bible Reading - Leviticus 1-3; Acts 13
Today’s Key Passage - Acts 13:42-52
Paul and Barnabas were on their first missionary journey, and they were given the opportunity to speak in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. Paul used his time in the synagogue to begin by restating God’s covenant with Israel and then showed how the Gospel of Jesus Christ fulfilled this covenant. It went so well that they were invited to come back on the next Sabbath to preach even more. The Jews saw the popularity of Paul’s message and grew jealous. Eventually these Jews would incite the leaders in the city, who would persecute Paul and Barnabas and make them leave the region. After being run out of town, Paul and Barnabas could have felt many different emotions. They could have been unhappy that more people did not believe their message. They could have been angry at the Jews for expelling them. They could have even been fearful of the coming days ahead and the further persecution they would likely face. Instead, we see that Paul and Barnabas were filled with joy.
To some people, this may seem strange. How could anyone be filled with joy after being persecuted and expelled from a region? Let us not, however, confuse joy and happiness. Happiness is fleeting. Whether we are happy or not at any given point in time largely depends on our circumstances. During our day-to-day existence, our level of happiness will ebb and flow depending on what is happening to us and our families. We will undoubtedly all face periods of extreme happiness and devastating unhappiness in our lives, as well as every level of happiness in between. Joy, though, is different. The joy we feel in our hearts has nothing to do with our circumstances or our daily events. The joy we feel in our hearts is tied to one thing and one thing only – the salvation and forgiveness offered to us by Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ, we understand that forgiveness of our sins and freedom from the guilt of sin is available to us through the work of Jesus Christ. It stands to reason that this would be called the Good News of the Gospel, because it is fantastic news to each of us who realize we are inherently broken by sin and unrighteousness. On our own, we each deserve to be punished by a perfect God for all of the bad things we have ever thought, said, or done. Instead of being punished, however, we can be forgiven for everything and we can receive eternal salvation through faith in Christ. Knowing that we have been forgiven (truly knowing it) and knowing that we have been saved (again, truly knowing it) brings us an indescribable level of joy in our hearts, and this joy is not a fleeting feeling that can come and go with the tides. This joy is with us from the moment of salvation through the end of our days on earth.
Have you felt this joy? Do you live a life filled with this joy? If you are having difficulty feeling this joy in your life, it may be possible that you do not truly recognize the significance of what Christ did for you on the cross. Do not allow any doubt to creep into your mind about your forgiveness or your salvation. Believe that our perfect God never lies and always does what He says He will do. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you accept Him as your Savior, YOU are forgiven. YOU are saved! Accept the gift of forgiveness and salvation that Christ offers, and allow your heart to be filled with His joy knowing that YOU will receive eternal life with Christ.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.
Posted on February 6, 2013, in 05 - Acts and tagged Bible, Christian, Conflict, Daily Bible, Daily Devotional, Faith, God, Godly Living, Jesus, Perseverance, Questioning God, Religion, Salvation, Trust. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.