We write not these exhortations in order for you to be dismayed, no the opposite. We desire that you have nothing other than true fulfillment. Even the world at large understands the principle that the worthwhile aspects of this life are often the things we must struggle for the most, so I ask how much more for the labor which reaps an eternal reward in Heaven? As it is written, “No discipline is joyful at the present, but painful; nevertheless afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Besides it is the grace of God which carries us when we no longer are attempting to carry ourselves.
We desire that your joy be full, and have seen and known that although the endeavors of this world produce quick pleasure they only bring leanness of soul and shallow gain in the end. Indeed, we must remember it is first our God’s desire that we all have fullness of joy. A good Father desires His children to be fully content; as Christ our Redeemer said, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Where does this fullness of joy come from then that we may ask Him for it? Therefore Jesus the Messiah says, “What man is there of you, whom if his son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? your sons asked for a loaf of bread would you give him a rock? Or if he asked for a fish would you give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Thus, it is revealed unto us that the greatest gift of all and that which brings us fullness of joy are not the things of this life, no, not food or drink, marriage or wealth of material, instead we find that it is God Himself through His Spirit that we ought to ask for. As King David says, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Friends, this is why we beseech you constantly and earnestly seek the face of the Lord in humble prayer, tears and godly sorrow, to be emptied of the carnal so that you may know more of Him. Not to rob you of a wholesome existence or to begrudgingly serve an uncaring and selfish father, but that you would not be robbed of the joy and mercies that are found in His goodness.
We pray you may forever serve the Lord that He would be glorified and pleased for there is none more worthy of our service and adoration than Him. We pray this for your sake as well that you may have this fullness of joy and deep communion with Him, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” To serve God is to love as He did, what greater purpose or fulfillment is there? Nor is it a heavy yoke, for He does the work within us and through us. Though the true sacrificial love of God is painful at times in this world, suffering for righteousness only produces more joy as we partake alongside our King and come closer to our blessed hope. Therefore, rejoice in Him in all things. Let not the enemy steal His presence from you no matter how much suffering is brought. “For the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Be strong in the faith brethren and endure until the end with the gladness of victory in Jesus Christ our Lord. Do not give this gift up, and let no one strip this gift from you, fight to maintain it, God gave Himself to you freely knowing there was nothing better that He could give.