Read: Romans 15:1-13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy. (v. 13)
Why does Paul want God to fill us with “all joy and peace in believing” (v. 13)? It’s not only to make us happy. Joy and peace lead to a hope that explodes into glorifying praise among all nations. This is the ultimate ripple effect of lives transformed by God. The explosion begins with Jesus coming to confirm God’s Old Testament promises to the Jews (v. 8). Believing Jews then praise God among the Gentiles (v. 9), inviting them to “rejoice” (v. 10), and so “in him will the Gentiles hope” (v. 12).
While Jesus commands us to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19), obedience by itself reduces mission to a burden. Missionary theologian Lesslie Newbigin says, “Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact?” (The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society). If our lives or our churches lack a missional heart, it’s not due to a deficit of financial resources or spiritual instruction, it’s simply a deficit of joy.
If you want to cultivate a heart that is on fire for the mission of God in the world, nurture your joy in God’s love for you. That’s what Jesus did, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). —Jon Opgenorth
As you pray, ask God to fill you with all joy.
About the Author
Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.