How Joy Comes
At one point in his ministry, Jesus sent out 72 “workers” into his “harvest field” (Luke 10). Because he considered them workers, we know they weren’t slackers; they were known for some degree of diligence and faithfulness, regardless of any other qualifications or lack thereof. They were inexperienced, but they had been following Jesus. They were sent to prepare his way by declaring peace on households and healing the sick. The message and the miracles of the kingdom would open ears and prepare receptive hearts for the coming of the King.
Jesus told these emissaries how to respond when they were rejected, so we know they were rejected at times. But they came back with joy because of the power that had accompanied them. They had seen God add to their diligence and faithfulness a capacity for carrying his Spirit. They not only represented Jesus in name; they represented him in power. They were thrilled.
Diligence and joy are often related. Everyone wants joy, but not everyone sows seeds of faithfulness first. The celebration comes not when we are diligent without any anointing from God, nor when we have anointing from God and no diligence. It comes when both flow together—not for a moment, but over time, with patience and persistence.
That’s the key—or at least one of them—to living a joy-filled life. Follow Jesus, receive his instructions, and go out in the power he gives. Your mission will be contested and at times rejected, and it won’t be easy. But it ends well. The powers of the world submit to the power of heaven. Live in the latter faithfully, and joy will come.
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