“Finally, brethren, farewell.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11
The close of 2 Corinthians is a subtle curiosity in scripture.
Translated out of the Greek manuscripts, the word for “farewell” is “Chairo,” which means to be full of cheer, to be calmly happy, or, simply, be well.
The word, which is derived from the Greek word for grace (Charis), is translated more frequently in scripture as “rejoice.”
Which makes for an interesting reading of this particular verse. Instruction, rather than parting salutation.
2 Corinthians carries some heavy gravity, delving into the deep hurts of trial and sorrow and loss, and lifting us and pointing us repeatedly to the presence of God, whose grace is sufficient for us in all things.
And, in that, it seems only appropriate in that, that the letter would close on an encouragement to rejoice.
Jesus would say in John 15: 9-11, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
There is a clear path to joy presented in scripture, and it is not “find it within yourself…”
If that’s how you’ve been pursuing joy, that’s why you still feel so empty.
Joy can’t be found by digging deeper within what is already empty.
It’s a cruel trap -- you dig and dig – in hope – but in reality all we actually do is make the empty void within ourselves bigger. And we tend to wear ourselves out to the point of exhaustion in the process.
Joy is found in looking to Jesus: In keeping His commandments, in abiding in His love. In those things, as He said, His joy remains in us, and our joy in Him is full
It says in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
If you truly want joy – you will not find it by searching deeper within.
Only God can show you the path of life. And He will, when you seek Him. In His presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Hold His word close. Spend time in it, and abide by it.
It’s not enough just to know it. Do you let God’s Word speak to you? Do you allow HIs Word to address where you are, and what’s going on in your heart?
And when God does speak, do you obey Him?
Keep His Word, and hold it close. Be kept in His Word, and hide it in your heart. Let His Word – as Colossians 3:16 states – Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.
And abide. Become deeply rooted in Jesus’ love.
If you’ve tried everything else, but never done that simple piece, there won’t be lasting joy in your life.
Finally, brethren, rejoice!
“Bet let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love You name be joyful in You. For You O Lord, will bless the righteous with favor. You will surround him as with a shield.” – Psalm 5:11-12
Joey Crandall is the pastor at Calvary Chapel Carson Valley.