Three Signs You Are Reigning in Christ (Pt 3)

Daily Devotion | Day 303

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, NKJV).

The Holy Spirit is a spirit of joy. Where He goes, joy flows. Therefore, to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with joy. Joy is life. Joy is an expression of the glory of God in our lives. Jesus wants us to have the fullness of life as well as the fullness of joy. He made this clear in the Gospel of John. About life, He said, “I have come that they [believers] may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (10:10). And regarding joy, He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (15:11). Fullness of joy is related to fullness of life, and Jesus wants us to have both.

Notice that Jesus talks about His joy. This refers to the joy He uniquely possesses as the Son of God. This tells us that the joy Jesus has in mind is no ordinary joy. His joy is of divine origin. In short, it is the joy of God. And, it is this joy that He imparts (as a gift) to us. That we possess and express this joy is important to Jesus. The reason is simple. Joy is evidence of dominion. It is a sign that we are abiding and reigning in Christ. It is an expression of the victorious resurrection life at work in us. Therefore, joy is a form of Christian witness. A joyless witness is no witness at all.

Furthermore, joy is a strong indicator that we are the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. No wonder Paul wrote, “The kingdom of God is . . . joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).  As we noted earlier, the Holy Spirit is a spirit of joy. As He dwells in us, He ensures that we have a constant and abundant supply of Jesus’ joy. He, the Holy Spirit, is the river of joy flowing incessantly within us (John 7:37-39). As the river of joy flows through us, it renews our strength. It gives us power to endure affliction joyfully and to overcome every attack of satan. Our joy signals to the devil that we have overcome and he is defeated. Glory to the Father for giving us His Holy Spirit!

As we bring the current series to a close, let’s summarize the main points. Righteousness is everything. It is the essence of life in the Spirit. It is the defining attribute of the kingdom of God. By righteousness alone are we able to reign in Christ. And, peace and joy are the natural effects of righteousness (Isaiah 32:16-17). Let’s take our rightful place in God’s kingdom. Let us reign.

Blessing: May your life be a testimony of righteousness, lasting peace and fullness of joy. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyPsalm 98:1-9 and 1 Peter 1:1-9

Reap the Benefits of a Joyful Heart

Daily Devotional: Day 223 |By Stephen Bilson-Ogoe

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NKJV).

A healthy heart makes for a healthy life. Taking care of the heart is, therefore, a necessary duty.  The Bible has much to say about that. Naturally, you know a lot of things about yourself. However, there’s still more you don’t know. No one knows us better than our Maker. He who created us knows everything about us and the things which are good for us. God is speaking to us today about the blessings of a joyful heart.

 Before we continue, let’s note that when the Bible talks about “the heart,” it often means something deeper than just the physical organ (heart) located in our chest. It often refers to our inner, invisible self. However, what occurs in our inner self has implications for our physical body. Consequently, wellness begins with a sound inner self.

Joy is precious. It is a catalyst of wellness. Joy supports and sustains well-being.  Therefore, everyone needs, not a little, but abundance of it. A joyful heart does good like medicine, says the Bible. This means a joyful heart is therapeutic; it promotes a healthy life. Joy creates a spiritual environment for your whole being to thrive. However, a broken spirit (a sad heart) is detrimental to our well-being. If, for any reason, you experience sorrow, it is important that you don’t let it linger and take control of your life.

A healthy life shouldn’t always mean swallowing toxic-laden pills with all their adverse side effects. When God’s Word says that a merry heart does good like medicine, let’s believe it. God created us. He knows every detail of every fiber of our being. When He says something is good for us, He means it.

The good news is, you don’t need a trip to the pharmacy to get a dose of joy. Why? The joy of the Lord is inside you. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Jesus’ own joy has been given to you. You can, as a result, choose to live joyfully in the Lord for the rest of your life.

Let not your joy be based on fleeting pleasures. You don’t want your joy to fluctuate. You want it stable, grounded on the Word of God and the everlasting love of your Father. No one can stop the joy of the Lord from flowing in you. Rejoice in the Lord, your God, and keep the devil confused.

I want to leave you with the following blessing:

 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). Amen.

For further study: Proverbs 15:13 and 1 Peter 1:1-9

Faith in the Unseen Jesus

Daily Devotional: Day 143

“Though you have not seen him [Jesus], you love him. Though you do not now see him [Jesus], you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9, ESV).

Today’s devotional is meant to dovetail yesterday’s message. Recall that yesterday we learned something about how God doesn’t want us to make images and bow down to them. The Father’s desire is for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is spirit and invisible, and He wants us to worship Him that way until the Day we see Him face-to-face.

You also will notice that the Son of God became flesh (visible) to save us from our sins; but after His resurrection, He ascended – body and spirit –  to heaven and didn’t leave us any physical representation of Himself on earth. He promised, however, to be with His Church always, albeit in an invisible manner. He further sent us the Holy Spirit (Who is also invisible). All of this tells us that God wants our worship to be based, not on visible images or some physical representations of Deity, but based rather on faith in the unseen Presence of God. True worship requires this kind of faith –  living faith.

If we base our worship on what we can see, feel, touch and smell, we’re walking by our senses, not by faith. The Word of God says, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV, emphasis added). You probably recall the story of Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. He hardened his heart and insisted that until he could feel, touch and see the risen Christ, he wouldn’t believe He was risen from the dead. Later, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and He upbraided Thomas, saying, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29, NKJV, emphasis added). The blessing is for those who, without seeing, believe the word of faith. Feeling, seeing, touching, or smelling doesn’t require faith. If the Word of God proclaimed by believers is not enough for a person to have faith, but he demands to see, feel, touch and smell something before he believes, then Christianity isn’t for him.

Based on everything we’ve said so far, today’s opening Scripture makes sense. Look at it again. Peter describes the kind of faith which produces authentic worship. Writing to groups of predominantly Christian neophytes, he states that they have not seen Jesus, yet they love Him. He continues by saying, they do not see Jesus at the present time, yet they believe in Him and are filled with a joy so glorious and inexpressible. This is the meaning of living faith and the meaning of true worship. Therefore, if you need a man-made image or statue of Jesus to help you worship the Lord, you are practicing a different religion not Christianity.

The Father seeks worshipers who will worship Him is spirit and in truth, based on faith in His Word, not ‘faith’ in images and religious objects or articles produced by men. The Bible shows that one does not need to see Jesus (or contemplate any visible man-made images of Jesus) to believe in Him or love Him.  Our faith and our worship should, consequently, be based on an inner conviction produced by the living Word of God that is preached to us. And, when faith is alive, it will produce authentic worship and the fruit of peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 14:17). Let’s worship the unseen Lord through living faith.

May the Lord bless and keep you today! Amen.

For further study: John 20:19-31

Heaven’s Joy in You

Daily Devotional: Day 102

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11, KJV).

Joy is good for you. Everyone needs a good dose of it to have a meaningful life. Joy in turn produces cheerfulness. A constant flow of joy in your soul can keep depression and despair at bay. The good news is, Jesus has made sure you will always have joy. But we first must qualify the joy we are talking about. Today’s Scripture reading is taken from Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. In the middle of His discourse, He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Let’s take a moment and unpack what Jesus is saying. We shall focus on just two important things.

First, Jesus is saying that He will give us His joy. This is an important detail. Jesus isn’t referring to some generic or vague form of joy. Nor is He referring to the transient and fleeting pleasure which, on occasion, we can derive from various forms of entertainment. Rather, the joy He is giving is peculiar; it is the joy that is inside Jesus.  No one can possess this joy unless it be given him from heaven. Jesus is divine; therefore, the joy He gives us is divine; it is supernatural joy. In short, it is the joy that can be found in the very heart of God. God’s joy never dries up. Don’t miss this point.

Second, Jesus says that upon receiving His joy, our joy will be full. This again is a significant detail. Jesus is basically describing the essential characteristics of divine joy. Jesus is not giving us partial joy. Instead, He is offering us the fullest expression of joy. In the heart of Jesus, there is no room for partial joy. Thus, the joy He gives us will leave no vacuum unfilled.

Now you might be wondering: “So, how do I get this joy? I can’t feel it.” Simple. Look at the first part of today’s Scripture. Jesus begins by saying, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you. . .” (emphasis mine). Jesus’ joy enters our hearts and remains via the words He speaks to us. This means the key to your joy is to immerse yourself in the words of Jesus, i.e. the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments), because all of Scripture points to Jesus. As you do so, it is important to treasure His words and practice the things He tells you. This is how you connect with the joy of the Lord. May your life be filled with the fulness of Jesus’ joy. Amen.

Prayer:

Holy Father, thank you for revealing your joy to me. I thank you that you have saved me and given me an inheritance with the saints. Fill me afresh with the joy of Jesus because your joy is my strength. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

For further study: John 15:1-13