"The disciples could not but be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit." —Acts 13:52
What if the only thing you knew how to do was "to be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit"? After Paul and Barnabas were violently abused and thrown out of town, the disciples knew how to react in only one way — not with violence, fear, unforgiveness, or bitterness but "with joy and the Holy Spirit."
What if we were rejected, insulted, or falsely accused? We would probably know how to react with something other than joy. However, Jesus' early disciples could be filled with joy even in terrible circumstances (Acts 5:41) because they were also filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit crucifies our flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). We no longer know how to react in our old carnal ways. The Spirit cries out "Abba" in our hearts (Rm 8:15; Gal 4:6), proclaims "Jesus is Lord" (1 Cor 12:3), and fills us with love (Rm 5:5). Under these circumstances, we forgive and love our enemies and know only how to be filled with joy. Only those filled with the Spirit can react to persecution this way. Therefore, "happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God's Spirit in Its glory has come to rest on you" (1 Pt 4:14).
Prayer: Father, may I react to my enemies in such a way as to puzzle non-Christians.
Promise: "My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish." —Jn 10:27
Praise: Praise the risen Jesus, Who died for His enemies and loves them with an everlasting love. Hosanna to the King of Love!
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tapes on Life in the Spirit Seminar on audio AV 8A-1, AV 8A-3, AV 8B-1, AV 8B-3 or video V-8A, V-8B.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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