File this under “I didn’t know that.”
“Every second, the world conducts more than 40,000 Google searches, creates 5 new facebook profiles, and opens YouVersion’s Bible App 112 times.”
I learned this when, as one the 40,000, I Googled “most popular verses in the Bible.” Since I write on a special verse each Wednesday, I was curious what the average internet user considered an important passage.
Surprisingly, John 3:16 was not in the top 10. According to YouVersion the top 5 most read and shared verses are:
#5 Romans 15:13
I have written on the first four, so today let’s consider Romans 15:13.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
This passage resonates with potent words that ring out so many fundamentals of our faith.
Hope. Every age has experienced its share of situations that can cause despair. “What’s the world coming to?” is not a new question or concern. When evil abounds, rulers mock God’s moral laws and Satan seems to have the upper hand, it’s easy to lose hope. However, we can rise above resignation, desperation or cynicism, because there is God. And because He is, then there is hope. Hope of help. Healing. Of a better day. And above all, a heavenly home that transcends this life.
Joy. Secularists seek happiness and pleasure. These are external. Based on circumstances. Often occurring by happenstance. And always temporary. Joy is internal. Based on our relationship with Christ. Joy is a choice. And is eternal. True joy is able to overcome any adversity, challenge or problem.
The religion of Jesus is a joyful religion. Salvation gives birth to Joy. Receiving God’s grace produces joy. In fact, there is a connection with grace and joy. The Greek word for joy is “chara.” It means gladness, calm, delight or joy. Closely related is the word for grace–”charis.” Charis is “that which bestows on occasion pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard.” When grace and Truth came in the person of Jesus, so did true joy.
Peace. The absence of conflict is not peace. It’s more than that. It’s serenity of the soul. Tranquility of the mind. The quiet repose that resides within the heart. It is a state of assurance. Safety. And security. The peace of God that surpasses understanding frees us from inner tension, personal conflicts, and worry about our relationship with the Lord.
Paul’s prayer was for them to be filled with hope, joy, and peace. To abound. To excel. To enjoy an abundance of these blessings in such excess that their cup overflows.
Is such a spiritual state realistic?
It is when we believe. When we enjoy a relationship with the God of hope, joy and peace. We are promised “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And while too great a topic for such a short post, be assured that when we born again and receive this gift we are filled with the “power of His might.” When we walk in the Word of the Spirit instead of the works of the flesh, we can enjoy an incredible life. An abundant life. A full life.
As a result we can daily praise God and proclaim the prayer of Paul:
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman