This Joy He Speaks About

You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6

Paul praised the church for their joyful obedience to the word of God even while being persecuted.

It’s one thing to read about this kind of joy when they are words on the page, but to see it lived out is entirely different.

But God gives the persecuted special grace to be able to endure tremendous hardship.

We often ask ourselves if we’d be able to endure under such persecution. The short answer is yes. Right now we don’t need that kind of grace. Certainly we need grace to be faithful when we’re living out daily, non-persecuted lives but it’s very different than going through the fire, as it were.

So, God will give us that grace if and when we need it.

That’s true in every country, every city, every home group that goes through persecution.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Notice, too, that not only does He give us grace but He also gives us joy in midst of the persecution.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t understand that kind of joy…yet.

I relate to Steven Curtis Chapman’s lyrics to “What Kind of Joy is This?”

What kind of joy is this
That counts it a blessing to suffer
What kind of joy is this
That gives the prisoner his song
What kind of joy could stare death in the face
And see it as sweet victory
This is the joy of a soul that’s forgiven and free

I don’t understand it, but it doesn’t mean I couldn’t. The ending of the chorus sums it up nicely: This is the joy of a soul that’s forgiven and free.

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