How is your joy on this Word-filled Wednesday? Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). As we grow in our relationship with God, we should bear much fruit, including joy. The story of Mary's visit with her cousin Elizabeth teaches us about joy. Elizabeth told Mary "As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:44). What is important here is that both mother and baby responded to Mary's voice. At the sound of Mary's voice, baby John, "leaped for joy." The Bible says we can know the tree by the fruit it bears. (Matt. 12:33). The fruit of Elizabeth's womb contained the future heralder of the coming King, and in the presence of God, the unborn Savior of the world (pre-natal, don't miss that, yet God), baby John received by way of the Holy Spirit on the job training as he leaps, not for fear or trepidation, but for joy! And Elizabeth was six months pregnant at the time. John the Baptist says this about himself near the end of his ministry of repentance and baptism, "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He (Jesus) must become greater. I must become less" (John 3:29-30).
The Scriptures tell us John the Baptist was joyful his entire life, from the womb to the tomb. In fact, the angel of the Lord appeared to John's father, Zechariah saying, "Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord" (Luke 1:13-15). Although John the Baptist had some difficult days, and was beheaded, his joy was centered in doing the will of God. John was a voice crying in the wilderness. He prepared the way for Jesus Christ (John 1:23) How is your joy today? Don't let the devil steal your joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah: 8:10). Take joy with you to work, to school, and to Bible Study. Take joy with you when you visit family and friends this Christmas. Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! This joy I have the world didn't give it to me, and the world can't take it away!