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“And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” (1st Thessalonians 1:6)
People who haven’t experienced Christ, and even some Christians may scratch their heads and wonder at the seeming contradiction of the above verse. “How can affliction bring joy?”
The answer is: Through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, Christians are able to endure all that the world can throw at them \"with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
Jesus tells us up front that following Him will include suffering, persecution and afflictions. But God provides believers with spiritual gifts that counter balance their difficulties. No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, unity with Christ provides supernatural abilities that allow us to rise above hardship. Gifts of joy and peace can be enjoyed even in the midst of difficult times.
Through faith in and intimacy with Jesus we also develop; patience, love, wisdom, and a boatload of other invaluable spiritual assets which all serve to fortify and enable us. God gives hefty gift baskets that overflow with everything one could possibly need to remain faithful to Him.
Christians have access to power for use in their daily lives that, to the world, is secret and unseen. When we call upon the Spirit for these helps we can access the very nature of God cohabiting our bodies, and shine in victory! This victory in Christ propagates the glorious image of God throughout the world.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful gift of your Holy Spirit. Empower us to continue the work of Christ on earth. Give us strength to endure hardship and temptation. Teach us to remain faithful amidst tribulation and persecution, so that others will praise your mighty name. Thank you for making us joyful in Jesus, amen.
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