Characterized by Joy
The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
Today if you were to sum up your life, what truths would you want to emphasize to your family and friends? What regrets would you have?
In Acts 20, we find the final words of Paul to the elders of the church he had started in Ephesus. Here in this chapter, he was delivering his final charge to them. As he looked back on his life, he said, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (verse 24).
There is one word from this verse I want to bring to your attention: joy. Paul was saying, “I am looking back on my life and on what I have done here. One word seems to sum it up well: joy.” This word could be translated to say “exceedingly happy.” This was a man who had a firsthand experience of suffering, hardship, and adversity. But in the midst of it all, he also experienced the joy of Christ bubbling up within him like an artesian well.
The fact of the matter is that the happy life is the holy life — the life that is lived for God. Joy is an operative word in the life of the Christian. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And Jesus not only promises us life beyond the grave, but a dimension of life on this earth that is worth living.
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