Finish Your Course with Joy
And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 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 20:22-24 NKJV
Even when Paul was in jail, jail wasn’t in Paul (Phil. 3:1; 4:4; 2 Tim. 4:6-7). His resolve was: “none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy” (Text). His attitude teaches us two powerful lessons: (1) our inner attitudes don’t have to reflect our outward circumstance, (2) what we put into life is far more important than what we get out of it. The good news is that life circumstances can change but the Lord doesn’t change. So, never stop rejoicing in the Lord, because we are apart from where we are, what we do, and what we have. Whatever God’s purpose, plan, and will is for our lives, we must finish our course with joy.
Joy is the path from life to death (Psalm 16:11). How? Forgiveness and reconciliation to the Father sets us a on a path of joy (Luke 15:10). And, why do we rejoice in the Lord? At least two reasons: (1) To celebrate the fact that we are in God’s presence (2) to maintain the conscious of the presence of God. Not to realize this is to be rendered spiritually unconscious because we never leave the presence of God (Jonah 1:1-3; Psalm 139:7-8). Furthermore, God has promised everlasting joy to the redeemed of the Lord (Isaiah 35:10). Because of forgiveness and reconciliation for our past, present, and future sins, we are placed permanently at the right hand of God (Psalm 16:11; John 15:11).
During our journey in life, there will be many occasions to feel something other than joy due to adverse circumstances, painful injustices, and other tests and trials, but we are called to finish our course with joy—never allowing anyone or anything break our hearts of joy (See Acts 21:10-13). On this journey, we’ll need a good start and even a stronger finish with the joy of the Lord; therefore, let us “Rejoice in hope; be patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer . . . Rejoice always in Lord! (Rom. 12:12; 1 Thess. 5:16).