“for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (ESV)
Affliction and joy; two words that you rarely see together in a positive manner. I did a nearly a year long study in the Book of Acts back in 2007—08 and one common thing I noticed throughout the book is how the Apostles and followers of Christ were able to remain joyful during times of trials and persecutions. For example the Apostles get a beating and they leave rejoicing because they were considered worthy of the cause, Paul and Silas were singing in the prison... Singing??? Really???There are so many times I read about the believers rejoicing after or during trials and persecution. I think about persecution and the church in America today and we are far from the example of the early church. We have become sort of "whiney" in America. If we face injustice we cry out to the public and shout, "NO FAIR!" Our name gets dragged through the mud and we call the lawyers to fight for us. We face any kind of trial or persecution and we immediately question why God is allowing this to happen to us.
I want to imitate the Thessalonians and no matter what I face, I want to receive the word of God with joy of the Holy Spirit. I pray that when I am reviled, made fun of or physically harmed for my faith that my response will be joy; because God is worth it. Does joy mean I will be happy and have fun in these times? Not necessarily. It means I will rejoice because I am counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ.
Random thought for the day: Seek to be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit in all circumstances of life.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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