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Devotional - week of February 2, 2003


RESTORED JOY

The fruit of the Spirit is … joy … Galatians 5:22

When, at our invitation, Jesus entered our lives, we were filled with the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit—including joy.

That first burst of joy came without our knowing it would come and without our knowing how it came. We were filled with the Holy Spirit and did not know it.

In those first days or weeks we were in that period of “sovereign grace” which God grants to all new believers.

Along the way, most of us lost the filling of the Spirit and the accompanying joy. In one degree or another we always long for a return to that first filling of joy.

We were like David who lost his joy. In one of the most emotional passages of the Scriptures David cried out to God for its return:

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation … Psalm 51:12

Bible scholars believe that Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 were prompted by David's sins of adultery and murder-sins which resulted in his loss of joy.

Many of us lost the joy of our salvation because we did not understand the Christian life and began serving God in human wisdom and strength. The flesh was back in power and we were no longer filled with the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 show that David sought the restoration of joy through repentance and confession. We often do the same but there is something far better.

We can receive the restoration of our joy by receiving again the filling of the Holy Spirit—and it can be a continual experience.

How do we experience the filling of the Holy Spirit and the return of the joy experienced in those first days of our Christian lives?

The answer is first by our believing the words of Romans 6:3-5 that we are already crucified, buried, and resurrected. Second, the answer is in experiencing our crucifixion, burial, and resurrection by obeying the five commands of Romans 6:11-13.