Well, what joy! This was going to be a really terrific blog, but my computer died and didn't save the draft. Kinda funny since I am writing about "joy" regardless of the circumstance. So . . . this will be the short version of the really terrific blog. Enjoy!
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." During difficult days for Israel, Nehemiah the governor declared, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10). Paul repeatedly encouraged the Philippians to "Rejoice in the Lord." (Philippians 4:4) And James challenged believers to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds . . ." (James 1:2, ESV)
If your like me, "rejoicing in every circumstance" can sometimes be a challenge (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). But there is good news -- the Holy Spirit leads us into joy! The Holy Spirit leads us into joy in two specific ways -- 1) The Holy Spirit leads us into a greater awareness of God's grace which produces thankfulness, and 2) the Holy Spirit empowers us in fruitful ministry to others.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), so it's no surprise that the Holy Spirit leads us into joy. The greek term for "joy" in Galatians 5 is chara meaning joy, gladness, or delight. It is significant that the greek term for "grace" is similar (charis). Joy is the increased awareness of God's grace and favor in your life! The Holy Spirit works in a believer's life to affirm that they are a favored child of God. The result is loads of rejoicing!
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus declares 5 specific aspects of anointed ministry that produce joy.
1) Anointed ministry brings good news to the poor. "Poor" in the Greek is literally "one who covers". The good news of the gospel empowers a believer to stand up straight and live as a child of God--that's joy!
2) Anointed ministry brings healing to the brokenhearted (i.e. the one with a crushed heart). the greatest healing are the inner healing of our emotions and our spirit. A person can be sick in body and still have joy, but if they are sick in spirit, they are unable to have joy!
3) Anointed ministry delivers spiritual captives from the bondage of sin. Here, the "deliverance" is primarily spiritual, rather than physical.
4) Anointed ministry sets free those who have been oppressed by life.
5) Anointed ministry proclaims the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25).
More soon on the subject of the Holy Spirit and joy!