Robert Murray McCheyne said, ‘The purest joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus.’
In these posts, I want to share some reflections on joy and where, as Christians, we can find our joy.
Finding Joy in the Gospel
1st March 2021
Jesus tells a parable of a man who discovered something, which brought him such joy that he went and sold everything he had.
You may have heard someone say, “I’d give anything just to . . .” Perhaps, it goes along the lines of:
I’d give anything just to go back to that special place I once visited.
Or, I’d give anything just to spend time with that special person again.
Or, in these days, we may hear people say, I’d give anything just for things to go back to normal.
Why would someone be willing to give up something for these things? Well, because these things would bring happiness. In the parable, it doesn’t talk about giving up something but everything. This is the parable,
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)
I was preaching on this parable a year or so ago and I was struck by three words in what Jesus says that I hadn’t fully seen before, ‘in his joy’. Jesus uses the parable to show us how great the kingdom of heaven is, how wonderful the gospel is, and how valuable above all other things knowing Jesus is. But in those 3 words, we also see something else. That the discovery of this great treasure brought the man joy. And his joy was so great that he was willing to sell all he had to obtain it. D.A. Carson writes,
Those who know where the treasure lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it.
What we see is that the gospel itself brings joy. The good news that we are no longer condemned but have peace with God brings great joy. This is a joy that every believer can testify to because we experienced it when we first heard the gospel and believed. And it is a joy that regularly returns when we meditate on the truth of the gospel, when we think of the wonder of our new life in Christ, and when we consider the miracle that our sins have been forgiven.
We can seek out the joy of the gospel in very practical ways – here are a few:
Preach the gospel to yourself – that might sound daunting, it isn’t! Simply spend time reminding yourself of the gospel, reminding yourself that you are forgiven, that you are God’s child and a citizen of God’s kingdom. Fill your mind with what Christ has done for you and allow your heart to fill with the joy of being part of God’s kingdom.
And if you like to write or draw or if you are musical, you might want to find creative ways to express what Christ has done for you. Taking time to do this can restore joy in your life.
Speak to a Christian friend about the gospel. Speak to each other about what God has done. Share what you love the most about being a follower of Jesus. Sharing these things with one another stirs up joy within us for what Christ has done for us.
Share your story of how you came to faith in Christ with a Christian friend or ask them to share their story with you. It is possible for us to have good Christian friends in the church and never have heard how they came to faith. Hearing others testify to God’s goodness is good for our soul and gives us joy.
Try and see if you can do 3 or 4 of these this week. And remember, even your act of sharing your story might restore the joy of a brother and sister who is struggling this week!
Next week - 'The Joy of Sharing the Gospel'