“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
The greatest joy I have in my life comes from my relationship with Jesus Christ! My soul is now happy, because Jesus freed me from the penalty and the power of sin. As John 8:36 says, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Free! Free from guilt, shame, condemnation, and soul-restlessness. As the great church father Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” As I think of what Jesus did for me, I can’t help but be happy and at rest!
The more we cultivate our relationship with Jesus, the more we will enjoy him and experience soul-rest. This is what it means to abide in Christ. Jesus tells us in John 15:5,11, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. . . . I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Trust him; abide in him; love him; and obey him. This is how we truly enjoy him. Are you enjoying Jesus? If not, ask yourself:
- Am I trusting and resting in Jesus’ sacrificial death, which I deserved?
- Am I trusting and resting in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, which gives me victory over my sin, death, and hell?
- Have I experienced freedom from the penalty and power of my sin?
- Am I cultivating my relationship with Christ and abiding in him?
Great peace and happiness are awaiting your soul when you can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions. If you’ve committed your life to Christ, but you find that your joy is lacking, make sure you are taking full advantage of the ‘means of grace.’ These are the means by which we can cultivate our relationship with the Lord:
- Daily Bible Reading and Scripture meditation
- Communing with the Lord in prayer
- Regularly hearing and applying the preached Word of God
- Regularly taking the Lord’s supper (communion)
- Fellowshipping with other believers
These are not things we do in order to ‘earn’ our salvation or make God love us more. These are things we will want to do out of a grateful heart and love for him. They are a ‘means’ to an end; and that end is ultimately Jesus Christ.
Do you love Jesus? Are you trusting and resting in him? Are you enjoying him? I can promise you that when you do, you will experience a soul-happiness unlike any you’ve ever known!