How can I have more joy in my Christian life?

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

While in Miletus, the apostle Paul gave his farewell address to the elders from Ephesus (20:17-35). After reviewing his past three years of ministry among these elders (20:18-21), Paul expressed his commitment to go to Jerusalem even though the Holy Spirit had warned him of the trouble (“chains and tribulations”) that awaits him there (20:22-23). 

Paul’s main concern was to be faithful to the Lord and to His message of grace, not to be physically comfortable or safe, so he says, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself” (20:24a). Paul was willing to sacrifice his comfort and physical safety to “finish” his “race with joy, and the ministry which” he received from the Lord Jesus” which is “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (20:24b).

All Christians have a “race” or course to run that God has “set before” them (cf. Hebrews 12:1). Your race will be different than mine, and my race will be different than yours, but all of us are called by God “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” This good news we are to preach revolves around “the grace of God.” “Grace” is receiving from God what we do not deserve. We do not deserve to be saved from hell forever, but God’s grace makes it possible through faith alone in Christ alone who died for our sins and rose from the dead (cf. I Corinthians 15:1-6). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

The Devil does not want this gospel of grace to go out into the world, so he will do all he can to hinder the spread of this message through false teachers and churches (cf. John 10:1b, 8, 10a; Acts 19:21-20:3, 19, 29-30; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 11-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3; I John 2:18-23; 4:1-6; et. al). Satan’s teachers and churches despise the grace of God.

Like the apostle Paul, however, we must remain focused on this message of grace that God has given to us. This is what Paul “counted dear” to himself (20:24a), not his own comfort or physical safety. The word “dear” (timios) refers to that which is precious or valuable. Our hearts follow what we value (cf. Matthew 6:21). So the more we grasp this message of grace and its value, the more our hearts will be vested in this message. And the more vested our hearts are in this gospel of grace, the more “joy” we will have as we see it spread it around the world. No amount of opposition or sacrifice can keep us from testifying to the gospel of the grace of God. 

Conclusion: The more we understand and grasp this message of grace, the more we will value its proclamation to a lost world. And the more we value this message, the more joy we will have in our Christian lives as we see this gospel spread to the ends of the earth! Salvation is free because Jesus Christ paid our sin debt in full when He died on the cross and rose from the dead (cf. John 19:30; I Corinthians 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:8-9)! Believe it and make it known to others before it is too late for them.