Joy in Believing
As many of you know, my slogan for ministry has been, “For Progress and Joy in Christ.” This comes from Phil 1:25-26 where the apostle says, “And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all foryour progressand joyof faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant inJesus Christby my coming to you again.” I have made it my mission to help the church (and however many Christians I can) to make progress in their faith. I want to help believers to develop a stronger, more resilient faith; to make progress toward holiness; and to grow in their understanding of the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I also want the church to have joy in and through this progress in Christ.
Joy is all over the Bible. During His farewell address on the night that He was betrayed, Jesus told His disciples, “Your sorrow will be turned into joy.” He went on to say, “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you;” as well as, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” That same night He also said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full;” and He prayed to the Father that His disciples, “may have [His] joy fulfilled in themselves.”
The apostle commanded in Phil 4:4 and 1 Thess 5:16 that we rejoice in the Lord always, and he told us in Gal 5:22 that Spirit wills to produce joy in us. He works in us what He requires from us. The Proverbs instruct us that “the hope of the righteous brings joy” and that “a joyful heart is good medicine.”
All of this is written to provide a little context to what I would like to share next. For whatever reason, I have been meditating on a particular thought for about a month now. My thought has been, “There is joy in believing.” I knew that there was a Scripture that stated this idea, but I did not know where it was until I looked it up. The closest passage to this idea is actually a benediction from Rom 15:13 which encourages, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The Lord has certainly filled me with joy in believing. This idea/verse really helps me put a finger on these “feelings.”
There are so many important aspects to the Christian life. For example, the Christian worldview is the only one that makes any sense to me; it answers all of the major life-questions. Another example of the importance of Christianity is that there is no atonement for sin outside of the atoning work of Christ. Yet, we can leave the conversation in simple terms by saying that there is joy in believing. I know that many of you have this same mind in you. From the time I was a child even until now, I have always had joy by being with the church; I have always had joy singing the hymns; I have always had joy in reading the Bible, hearing it taught, and teaching it myself. I have always had joy in believing. There is a joy that the Christian life offers that is not experienced anywhere else. There is joy in hope, peace, freedom, etc. There are many reasons to grow in our knowledge of Christ and His Word—one of the big reasons is that we get so much joy out of the growth! Let me encourage you to find your joy in Christ. Bask in the joy of being united with Him, receiving His accomplishments as your own, getting to know Him better, and being with His people. There is joy in believing!