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Devotional by Dr. Heyward
Devotional by Dr. Heyward

Filled with Joy, Hope, and Peace by Dr. Orpheus Heyward

Dr. Harsh placed a most relevant theme for us to ponder in this current world context. The theme is "Filled with Joy." We are living in a time that seems so unclear and has filled many hearts with fear. Paul speaks a relevant word for this season in Romans 15:13:
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
In this theological masterpiece called Romans, the apostle Paul provides a comprehensive understanding of the gospel as the means by which man is placed in right standing with God. As a result of receiving this gospel, Christians have peace accessed through faith (Romans 5:1-2). This peace was made available when the hostility between God and man was removed through the atoning death of Jesus  (Romans 5:8-11). To receive Christ is to accept peace, and subsequently, experience joy. It's no wonder why Paul would admonish the church at Philippi with the statement, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)".  Having explained that salvation has been offered to both Jew and Gentile, Paul brings his readers into a pivotal moment of encouragement, acknowledging God as the source of hope, joy, and peace resting on the foundation of faith.
It is wonderful to know that every human being can have a relationship with the Godhead three, The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. God provides us with three concepts of comfort that lift  us up through both times of smooth-sailing as well as through rough waters: hope, joy, and peace. Let's explore these three concepts of comfort.
Hope is not wishful thinking but a concrete expectation knowing that God fulfills his promises. To embrace God as "the God of hope" is to accept that he is trustworthy in completing his will. To this end, Paul could say in an earlier part of the book of Romans, "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? (Romans 8:24)". We are saved with full assurance that we can expect God to fulfill his word.
Joy is the inward delight and jubilance that is an outgrowth of our relationship with God. Joy is not predicated on favorable circumstances but rooted in the assurance that God is working to bring about his ultimate purpose in our lives. James, the brother of Jesus, manifests this truth, stating, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Peace is inward tranquility. It is often expressed idiomatically as God causes our hearts to sit down in quietness. Through prayer, we can fully enjoy calmness as Paul tells us we can release our anxiety as the peace of God guards our hearts (Philippians 4:6-7).
These three concepts of comfort can be our reality through "believing," according to Romans 15:13. If we can increase our faith, we can improve our experience of hope, joy, and peace. Walk with us at Greater Atlanta Christian School as we open our hearts to be filled with all that God has for us expecting a brighter future through our all-powerful God and the sufficiency of our Christ.

Discussion Questions: 

1. What brings you joy? 
2. How can you keep your eyes on Jesus during difficult/trying times? 
3. How can you invite others into a joyful life? 
4. Dr. Heyward says in his devotional, "To receive Christ is to accept peace, and subsequently, experience joy." How has accepting the peace of Christ led you to experience deeper joy in Jesus? 

Dr. Orpheus Heyward is the Senior Minister of the Renaissance Church of Christ as well as a Bible teacher at GAC. He holds a Masters of Arts in Theology, Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies and a doctoral degree in Theological Exegesis. His two children, Nevaeh ’25 and Nehemiah ’28 attend GAC.

  • spiritual life