What if the only thing you knew how to do was “to be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit”? After Sts. Paul and Barnabas were violently abused and thrown out of town, the disciples knew how to react in only one way — not with violence, fear, unforgiveness, or bitterness but “with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
What if we were rejected, insulted, or falsely accused? We would probably know how to react with something other than joy. However, Jesus’ early disciples could be filled with joy even in terrible circumstances (Acts 5:41) because they were also filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit crucifies our flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). We no longer know how to react in our old carnal ways. The Spirit cries out “Abba” in our hearts (Rm 8:15; Gal 4:6), proclaims “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor 12:3), and fills us with love (Rm 5:5). Under these circumstances, we forgive and love our enemies and know only how to be filled with joy. Only those filled with the Spirit can react to persecution this way. Therefore, “happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God’s Spirit in Its glory has come to rest on you” (1 Pt 4:14).