The Spirit of Joy

This Sunday I want to try to say something that will help us all be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” The text will be Ephesians 5:18. Please pray for me! I feel like a Piper Cub trying to catch onto the space shuttle Columbia.

You all know of Mother Teresa, don’t you? She was the tireless old Catholic servant of God to the “largest slum in the world” — Calcutta. Recently, Ruth Camberlin, a freelance writer, said of her, Mother Teresa’s face “is full of sorrow and joy.” Is it really possible for a face and a heart to be filled with sorrow and joy?

One time the apostles of Jesus were arrested, beaten, and released. Luke says (in Acts 5:41), “They went out rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (of Jesus).” Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). But then he also said, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Can we really do that?

One thing I am sure of: We all want to be like that, even if we can’t explain it. We long to be happy in God, but we also long to care so deeply for hurting people that tears come to our eyes and we “deny ourselves” to help them. We want people to look into our face and see it full of joy and sorrow.

Maybe the key is the source of our joy. And maybe it has something to do with the “fullness” of the Holy Spirit. Think about Acts 13:52: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”