True Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love Comes From A Relationship With Jesus
By Scott Stephens
The Advent Season is a wonderful time for us to reflect on the gracious gift that has been given to us by God. When we celebrate Advent, we are celebrating the coming of the Messiah as a baby, as well as His second coming as our Righteous Judge and King. The four candles that represent the four weeks of the Advent season have special significance. The first candle for the first week represents hope. The second candle represents peace, the third candle joy, and the fourth candle represents love.
Our hope is in knowing that the promises of God are true. As a reminder that God keeps His promises, He has left His Holy Spirit with us to guide and direct us (Romans 5:5). Theologian RC Sproul said that the “Holy Spirit fulfills the role of comforter, girding up the believer in strength and hope, encouraging him to pray to the Father…Your Kingdom Come!” Romans 15:13 clearly states that it is the Holy Spirit that allows us to “abound in hope.”
Those who belong to God are blessed to have the Holy Spirit living within them (Titus 3:4-6; Romans 8:14-16; Acts 1:8). He takes up residence in all believers’ hearts providing them with His guidance and teachings, revealing to them how to please and bring glory to Jesus. He brings to remembrance all that Jesus has commanded and convicts the world of their sins. (John 14:26; John 16:7-8).
Our ability to have peace, joy, and love to the fullest extent also comes from the Holy Spirit. We read in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-25). Without help from the Holy Spirit, we are unable to live these attributes completely and in full measure. In our sinfulness, our abilities are weak our desires are contrary to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-21). Our sinful desires cause us to act in ways that conflict in what the Spirit is working out in our life… our Christ-likeness.
Because of the saving grace we have received as believers, the Holy Spirit is working in our lives to bring about sanctification. We are being molded in conformity with the image of Jesus. The works of the Spirit in our lives gives us the ability to experience all of the “fruit of the Spirit” in a greater degree. It is because of the Holy Spirit that we are able to love others more, putting them first, even before our own desires. It is a love that that is not self-centered or selfish. It is self-sacrificing, mirroring Jesus’ sacrificial love for us.
Furthermore, with the help of the Spirit, we can have greater joy and peace, even during times of sorrow. Because God’s love has been poured into us through the Holy Spirit, we can experience joy in our suffering, knowing that God will produce something good from it (Romans 8:28-29; Romans 5:3-5). This is a little hard to understand, particularly because we don’t usually associate joy or peace with our suffering. But the Holy Spirit, the giver of joy and peace, imparts to us the hope of knowing that our suffering is not in vain. Our suffering gives us the endurance and character which makes us more like Jesus. As we become more like Jesus, we come to a greater confidence in what He has done; He has overcome this evil world (John 16:33).
The hope, love, peace, and joy given to us by the Spirit is overflowing. It is more than anything the world has to give. It is sufficient to help us through the most difficult of times. Knowing this, when we light the center candle, the Christ candle, on Christmas day, we can rejoice knowing that Christ has come to us. He is Immanuel, God with us!