There is joy in becoming a Christian. There was “great joy” in city of Samaria when they accepted the gospel (Acts 8:5-8). After being baptized, the Ethiopian eunuch “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). The Philippian Jailer “rejoiced” after his baptism (Acts 16:34). Unfortunately, this joy often becomes diminished over time. The trials and struggles of life continue, with the added persecution that comes because of our commitment to Christ. These things can cause us to lose our focus, our zeal, and our joy.
What are some things we can do to help us remember the joy of serving the Lord in a world full of darkness and sin?
The Joy of Knowing We Know We Are Doing What Is Right. Serving the Lord is the right thing to do, and there is joy and satisfaction in knowing we are doing what is right, even if we are in the minority. “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9). In serving the Lord we are laying a solid foundation for our lives (Matt. 7:24-27), preparing ourselves to be useful to others (Titus 3:14), and doing what we were created to do (Eph. 2:10). This should bring us great satisfaction and joy.
The Joy of Worshipping God. Like David, we need to say, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” (Ps. 122:1). The joy of worship is not an emotional or reactionary experience. It is a joy that is based in knowledge, reason and logic. When we remember who God is and what He has done for us (despite our sins), we will enter into worship with joy in our hearts. “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Ps. 95:1-2).
The Joy of Fellowship with Other Christians. One of the blessings of being a child of God is that we are not alone. We are part of a spiritual family, and this family is intended to be a source of joy. There is joy in our association with our brethren (Acts 2:46). There is joy in knowing others are walking in the truth (2 John 4; 3 John 4). We rejoice when sinners are converted to Christ and when erring brethren are restored (Luke 15:7, 10). There is joy in receiving help from our brethren (Phil. 4:10). “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1).
The Joy of Leaving a Good Example. We are to let our light shine so it can be seen by others (Matt. 5:14-16). Some people will not appreciate this, but others will benefit greatly from our godly example. The time we spend serving the Lord, without grumbling or complaining, is setting a positive example for others. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15). It is also rewarding to know we are setting a good example and leaving a spiritual legacy for our children to follow. The generation that arose after Joshua “did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals” (Judges 2:10-11). What are we leaving behind for our children? Are we bringing them up in the way that they should go?
The Joy of Investing in Something Eternal. We want to make wise investments of our time and money. Everything in this world will eventually perish (2 Pet. 3:10). We are not to labor for and lay up treasures that will perish on the earth, but that will endure to be enjoyed into eternity (Matt. 6:19-21; John 6:27). The people of the world run “to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown” (1 Cor. 9:24-27). We rejoice, not because we have obtained fame and recognition in this world, but because our “names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
The Lord is not going to force us to serve Him. Neither is He going to force us to be happy while doing so. It is easy to become distracted and discouraged. The devil would love to see us walk away from the Lord, but we need to be like Paul and “finish our race with joy” (Acts 20:24). Have we found the joy in serving the Lord? – By Heath Rogers