Discovering Joy in Our Relationship with God
Jesus once shared the following parable with his disciples, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matt. 13:44-46). There are two important truths here that Jesus is trying to convey to his followers. 1) There is great Joy in being part of God’s kingdom. 2) In order to fully experience this joy, we need to be all in. We cannot be part in and part out. Too often wind up only partially following Jesus. Only at times fully committed to living in God’s Kingdom. The more we become devoted to living in God’s kingdom (not just heaven, but God’s reign that has already begun here on earth) the more we experience joy in our relationship with God. This joy is priceless, more valuable than anything life on earth can offer.
In our stewardship series “Celebrate Joy” we are also discovering that being joyful involves a choice. It is choosing to focus and believe in God’s promises, choosing to notice and respond to God’s blessings, and choosing to listen and follow God’s leading. The wisdom and advice of this world tends to just distract and lead us away from God. This is especially true when dealing with suffering. Most advice from our culture teaches us to avoid, deny, and escape pain. God often leads us through pain to healing, freedom, and even deeper joy. Part of this choice then also involves being fully invested in God’s kingdom. Choosing to give God’s kingdom greater importance and value than our lives here on earth.
Here are some of the priceless joys that I experience as being part of God’s kingdom.
- The joy of being chosen to be part of God’s team.
- The joy of seeing someone released from the burdens that weigh them down.
- The joy of witnessing someone experience true forgiveness and grace
- The joy of knowing that all that is wrong right now is only temporary. This life is passing away and all of eternity awaits. Eternal life is what we were created and designed for, not the broken shadow of life that we experience now.
- The joy of God’s faithful presence and reassurance in my life. I have the most stable of foundations – Jesus’ love and faith – to sustain me.