Journey to Joy
Is your joy worth sharing? Would wishing it on others be a blessing or a curse? I’ve had seasons in my life when wishing others my joy would be like hoping they get COVID-19. Perhaps, you can identify with that. In his defense against King Agrippa, Paul wanted others to be like him (Acts 26:29).
We talk about what gives us joy. You don’t have to beg grandparents to show pictures of a new grandchild, the cutest and smartest kid ever! Somehow, their daughter married an absolute blockhead and still managed to produce a brilliant offspring! The point—if we’re not talking much about our faith, it’s because it doesn’t give us much joy. Our commitment to it is probably lukewarm at best.
Acts 26 describes Paul’s journey to joy. As a Pharisee, Paul followed his religion with fanatic zeal. But it was a zeal without knowledge. His practice of it was a liability to the Kingdom of God. Most people aren’t religious zealots. They don’t care about Christ’s claims. They do their own thing. They don’t want Jesus or anyone else to bother them. They might have a little interest in religion, but not enough to significantly change daily life.
Acts 26:12–21 recount Paul’s conversion. Like him, we need a personal encounter with the life-changing Jesus. It begins with believing that Jesus is the Son of God whose death, burial, and resurrection broke down every barrier between us and God. We demonstrate our faith by leaning completely on Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
According to verse 20, Paul called for men and women to repent, turn to God, and perform deeds consistent with true repentance. Good works follow a right relationship with Jesus Christ as surely as thunder follows lightning.
With a personal relationship with God, Paul became a different person. Jesus’ purpose of taking the gospel to others (verse 18) suddenly motivated him too. How much does it motivate you? Paul obeyed Christ’s leading (verse 19).
Paul preached the need to turn from sin to God through faith in Christ. Any life center other than God is a sin-center. Is your life clop-clopping along like a car with a flat tire? Is God really the hub of your life?
To begin your journey to joy, you must answer the following questions with a “yes.” Has my faith in Jesus ever gone beyond head knowledge to total commitment of my whole person to Him? Am I seeking to obey and glorify Jesus as a way of life? Is my self-esteem free from what I perceive others think of me? Have I let go of the destructive criticism of significant others that made me feel inadequate? Have I allowed Jesus to heal my haunting memories? Am I using my strengths to minister to the needs of others?
I invite you to check out my book, His Power for Your Weakness, a devotional discipleship resource and to share it with others: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?
See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com
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