therefore we are comforted. and besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. [2 corinthians 7:13]
joy is contagious. here we have a picture of the corinthian church, remembering their love for the man who had introduced them to Jesus Christ, made disciples among them, established the church, and raised them up in the faith. at a time of testing, they had wavered in their zeal for the Lord as division and sexual immorality had sprung up within the church. so he wrote to them, rebuking, exhorting, and pleading them to return to their satisfaction in Christ.
maybe this has happened to you. maybe you’re on the church’s end of this narrative, having forgotten the joy of your salvation. maybe you were looking for satisfaction outside of the presence of God, and God used a brother or sister in Christ to call you to repentance and restore you to his joy. or, maybe you were on the side of paul, getting to plead with another believer to turn away from their sin and come back to the light. either way, do you remember the sheer joy when that relationship was restored? when someone experiences the godly grief that leads to repentance and comes back to the open arms of Christ (john 6:37), the result is joy for everyone involved.
remember the parable of the lost sheep? what was the result of the shepherd finding the one who was lost?
and when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. and when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘rejoice with me, for i have found my sheep that was lost.’ [luke 15:5-6]
and the woman who lost one coin out of ten?
and when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘rejoice with me, for i have found the coin that i had lost.’ just so, i tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. [luke 15:9-10]
as the corinthians repented, and remembered the joy of their salvation, that joy was shared with titus, who’s zeal for ministry was stirred up with joy, who excitedly reported to paul everything that had happened, which comforted paul to rejoice!
friends, be encouraged! we need to stir joy up in the body! sometimes that just means remembering together the goodness of God and what he’s doing. sometimes that means gathering to pray or sing together. sometimes, that means gently and lovingly calling someone to repentance with the hope of restoring their joy in the Lord.
if someone has recently called you back to the light, caused grief that led to repentance, and helped to restore the joy of God’s salvation, take a minute to thank the Lord for that brother/sister, their boldness, and their obedience. reach out to them and tell them what a blessing it was to you.
if you need to call someone back to the light, what’s holding you back? God calls us to build a community of weakness, confession, and repentance within his body. ask the Lord who needs the joy of his salvation restored today. reach out and love them!
if you need restoration in your own heart, stop running. God didn’t spare his own Son’s life, but gave him up for you. he did the hard thing because his delight is to give you everything in himself. he gives his love and his joy freely. so lay aside the weight you carry and return to his joy.
for you, o Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands i sing for joy! psalm 92:4