Over a year ago now I posted a list of resolutions for myself based on those written by the great Jonathan Edwards, you can read it here. This was of great importance to me when I wrote it, and I am ashamed to say that since then many changes have happened in my life and whilst the resolutions still stand I have not used them as a tool to remind myself of the importance of many things, which is what I intended them for. Upon my reading through them again I came up with an idea to help myself think on these things deeper and more often, and it may also interest any readers (all 2 of you.) I have decided to thoroughly expound upon each resolution in order to further drill into my brain the fact that if I do not preach the Gospel to myself more often using whatever tools I may have, I am bound to lose track of what it is I am trying to do; enjoy, delight in, and glorify the Triune God and spread the good news of the person and work of Jesus on behalf of His Church.
It has been quite awhile since I have written anything, but I will (once again) try and change that. I will attempt to be consistent with this, although knowing myself fairly well there will probably be a hiccup or two (read: lots of hiccups.) So bear with me as I write this…
The first resolution I wrote was this:
“Resolved, to endeavor in all things to take joy in the Gospel that God the Father so loved me that He sent God the Son to life a perfect life in my place, and pay the penalty for my sin at the Cross and resurrect so that I may also be resurrected, so that God the Holy Spirit could regenerate and indwell me and sanctify me.”
So let us dive into this…
“. . .to endeavor in all things to take joy in the Gospel. . .”
By this snippet I intend to portray that I desire through every changing scene, every happy moment, every painful event, every morning I wake up tired, every day that I feel energetic, etc, to take joy in the Gospel. An important distinction must be made here; joy does not equal happiness. Happiness is a good and great gift, however it comes and goes. I cannot be truly by definition both completely happy and sorrowful at the same time. I can be joyful through sorrow, though. What is the difference, you ask? Happiness is an emotion that can be gotten from multiple sources such as; having a good day, having a good beer, people being nice to you, everything going as planned, etc. Happiness is a good gift from God, if it is used to enjoy and glorify Him. But happiness is also fleeting; it may last a short time or a long time, but eventually it will be gone and may or may not come back quickly depending upon the circumstances. So then, what is joy? I will begin by clarifying what joy is not; joy is not intense or special happiness like many in our culture define it, though joy can sometimes cause intense happiness. I believe that joy is best defined, within a Christian worldview, as a satisfaction and indescribable pleasure proceeding from an object. The reason that joy and happiness are synonymous to many in our culture, in my opinion, is because those without the Gospel engraved in their hearts have not truly experienced joy, though they try to obtain it. They do indeed look to objects that evoke their affections, including happiness; this leaves them though because the objects they try to get satisfaction from all die, perish, change, rust or rot. The only reason we can have a satisfaction and pleasure that surpasses all emotions, sadness or happiness, is because being filled with the Holy Spirit and trusting in the Gospel of Christ has caused us to seek ultimate satisfaction in the thrice holy God. Though this satisfaction may waiver and sometimes seem faint, it is always there because our Father preserves it in us through the Spirit testifying to Christ’s work for us. This is beautiful because we literally cannot do anything apart from this joy, seeing as ‘…the joy of the LORD is our strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) So we must be dependent on Him for everything.
So the joy I speak of in the first selection of words proceeds from the rest of the resolution. Because of the love of the Father, the work of redemption by the Son, and the regeneration, indwelling, leading and comfort of the Spirit, I have a satisfaction and pleasure that cannot be taken away.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, “
(1Pe 1:8, ESV)
Soli Deo Gloria
–Wesley Tyler Robinson