Updated: Apr 15
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." - Hebrews 12:1-3
How did Jesus Experience Joy?
This is an important question to ask. Why? Because we are not talking about "the fruit of humankind," we're talking about experiencing the fruit of the Spirit of God! That must mean that the joy that God offers us cannot be known apart from Him. This joy cannot be replicated by money, success, your family, or your significant other. It is supernatural, and that is an incredibly beautiful thing. This kind of joy remembers and hopes for the return of Christ and leads us to live kingdom-centered lives rather than self-centered ones.
"For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
My human brain cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of this verse. Often times I find myself just glossing over this passage, not contemplating the significance of what it says!
How could Jesus have felt joy as a human...? It does not makes sense to me. He gave up his throne in heaven. He was spat on, whipped and flogged. He was stripped, starved, and beaten. His head was penetrated by a crown of thorns and his hands and feet were pierced by cold, thick nails. Yet, he endured the cross for the joy set before him.
The cross was not the end for Jesus. His joy was knowing that through His death his brothers and sisters would be united to their Father. The children of God are once and for all reunited with their heavenly Father, free from sin and born again of the Spirit. There is no better reason to rejoice in anything and there never will be. Praise Jesus!
1. When we pick up our crosses daily as Jesus commands, may we remember that it is possible to have joy in process. There is joy set before us just as there was in front of Christ.
Even though following Jesus comes with its trials, remember, Christ has overcome the world. Though the world hated him, he had joy knowing that there was hope for the world. There is still hope, we are to share that hope.
Rejoice always pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
2. It is NOT your job to fill yourself with joy.
How does it make you feel to hear that? Does it take a weight off of your shoulders? Does it frustrate you because you have been trying to make yourself happy for some period of time? Rest knowing that that joy COMES from the Holy Spirit, it is not up to you to conjure up joy in the midst of the deep dark pits of life-- the Spirit will comfort you. This is good news.
"God you are holy, holy, holy. Remind me that you are with me today and use me for your glory. May an inexplicable joy fill me that can only come from unity with you. You already know my mind and you carry my burdens in the palm of your hand. Wipe my mind and my heart of all the reasons I have to complain and be angry, confused, or bitter with my circumstances and teach me to be joyful. As I pick up my cross today, may I endure whatever hardship I encounter. May the joy that follows be a light in darkness, and may others see your love, mercy, and goodness through me today."