“The fundamental disposition of a Christian is one of courageous, unwavering joy.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 17, 2021
Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Matthew 9:2, NKJV
The fundamental disposition of a Christian is one of courageous, unwavering joy. Joy is the fruit of a deep and abiding life with Christ. Like the paralytic of old, we hear Christ’s words to us: your sins are forgiven.
Joy for the Christian transcends circumstance or situation. It is not undone by momentary trials, neither is it sustained by seasons of prosperity or health. For Jesus in Matthew 9, the source of joy is not tied to the healing of the man’s physical suffering, significant as this may be. Jesus knows that there is a deeper ailment, a more profound sickness within every human heart that needs to be healed, restored, and made new. “Be of good cheer,” Christ says, for he comes not simply to treat the surface issues, but to break the chains that hold humans captive to their misguided loves and desires.
If Christ only heals our presenting illness, our superficial sickness, then joy is entirely dependent upon the ever-changing circumstances of life. Yet if he heals us to our core, then that healing and hope persists, even in the midst of life’s greatest storms.
In this passage, joy is closely linked to the virtue of courage. Take heart and be courageous are other ways to translate Christ’s words into English, giving us a clearer window into the heart of this passage. We are invited by our Lord to live brave and courageous lives, not because life is free of challenge, trial, or danger, but because we have been made ready and able to face these difficulties as restored and renewed children of God. As Jesus says in John’s gospel, again using the same words that we find here in Matthew 9, we are reminded of our source of true and abiding peace: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We are not promised a carefree life. To expect or demand this is a failure to hear our own Lord’s words to us. In this life there will be trials. Yet do not despair! As we abide in Christ and in his peace, we find hope, joy, and courage that will carry us through each and every season. No matter what today holds, Christ’s words are words of truth spoken to you: be of good cheer.
Father, we thank you for your goodness and love, a love that heals our souls and forgives our sins, setting us free to face every situation with courage and trust, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What is the greatest threat to your joy and courage in this season of life? Take it to the Lord in prayer, asking him to deepen your faith and trust in him.
Trinity Music: Breath of God
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