Our visit with joy has been short this month! But the Christmas season is naturally a good time to continue focusing on this fruit of the Spirit.
I thought it would be appropriate to end our series on joy with the following verse.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” ~Acts 20:24
What a powerful verse! What better goal could we have as Christian women than to finish our course with joy?
We each have a different path through life. That path takes different twists and turns as the years pass. Right now, you could be a working single, a newlywed, or a mom with small children. You might be an empty nester, a grandmother with young grandchildren, or some stage in between. Whatever our path or “course” today, we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help, walk it joyfully. We don’t know which day will be our last.
Yet assuming we live into our later years, how sweet it would be to move through our final days with joy in our hearts. Does that necessarily mean that the “finish” of our course, the end of our lives, will be pleasant, humanly speaking? It could be. Or it could involve poor health, a long-term sickness, or a host of other unpleasant things we don’t want to think about!
As far as we know, Paul lived his last days as a prisoner. Not the outwardly joy-producing ending one might wish for. But he says that he didn’t “count his life dear.” In other words, the only measure for the value of Paul’s life was in how he could use it to complete God’s will for him. His ministry was to share the gospel, and to be a testimony to the grace of God. Fulfilling that calling with a joyful spirit was Paul’s goal.
As we’ve discussed before, it’s not circumstances that should determine our joy. Joy is the fruit of the Spirit that’s grown in our lives as we trust God, believe His Word, and serve Him. So no matter how many years God gives us, I pray that at life’s close, we’ll be able “to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” As we reach the end of our own path, may we be a testimony of God’s grace, and evidence that by the joy we know deep in our souls.
Thanks for looking at joy with me this month! Below I’ve listed all the posts in this series for quick reference. I hope you’ll join me next week as we begin talking about peace.