Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding joy in the gospel

Today I'm linking up with Women Living Well Wednesdays.


Back in January, I made the following resolution...

This year, be it resolved, that I, Chelsea Kathleen Stanley, will pursue joyfulness.

Six months have passed since then.

So how's that going for you, Chels?

Well, I am pleased to report that today, I am a more joyful person than I was six months ago. And it's not because of these sub-resolutions that I came up with back in January to help me get there. It's because of my new found love of the gospel.

Back in November, Dan and I made the heartwrenching decision to leave our home church.

Heartwrenching because of the history we had there. Dan grew up in that church. We spent our dating years growing together there. We were married there.

Heartwrenching because of the people we loved (and still love!) there. Both of our biological families attended that church, and the people there had become a second family to us, especially during the trials that we had experienced during our first year of marriage.

Heartwrenching because of the sin of our (biological) family that made us leave more swiftly than anticipated.

Heartwrenching because it was a Bible-believing, Christ-exalting church that had taught us so much, yet we knew that God was calling us away.

Just heartwrenching.

But God takes our heartache and turns it into joy!

As hard as it was to leave our old church, we have found a new home in Crossway Community Church, and I am so thankful to God for leading us there.

I am thankful for two (main) reasons:

1) Crossway has helped me to appreciate and love the gospel more.
2) This love for the gospel leads to a contageous joy, and I've caught it!

Let me explain...

Growing up I had always believed the gospel (or "good news" of Jesus Christ). I knew that I was a sinner. I knew that the penalty for sin is death. I knew that Jesus died that death on the cross for me. I knew that he had saved me. But in my mind, the gospel was almost a one-time thing. You believed it once. It saved you once. You're done with it, so you pass it along to someone else.

But now, it's totally different.

Now, I try to preach the gospel to myself every day. Today, I realize that I need to constantly remind myself of the wonderful grace and mercy of the gospel story.

So when I come home to a house full of laundry and dishes, and I catch myself becoming resentful towards my role as a wife, I preach the gospel to myself.

Christ loved sacrificially. Now it's your turn. Live the gospel.

Or when I'm beating myself up for sins of the past, feeling trapped in sorrow and despair, I preach the gospel to myself.

Christ paid the price for that sin, Chelsea. He has set you free through His gospel.

Or when I'm dealing with trials and circumstances, and I catch myself slipping into anxiety or depression, I preach the gospel to myself.

Sure, today's circumstances are bad, but think of all the goodness you have in the gospel.

I love, love, love the gospel! And this new found makes my heart overflow with joy.

I am happier. I am calmer. I am content in the gospel.

Joy inexpressable.

Pure joy.

If you want to read up more on this whole "gospel" thing, head on over to The Gospel Coalition website. It's a great resource!