For the joy set before him.

I’ve been able to go on prayer walks in the mornings, which started because I park my car a little bit “off” campus in the commuter lot (It’s free during the day! Yay!) Now that’s its warmer- why not? It’s been super refreshing to my soul. 

This morning I was encouraged just think about how Jesus got through the cross. If anyone deserves a standing ovation, a medal of honor, the crown- its Him.

Sometimes in life, I think God grants us the opportunity to stand before our future challenges, what’s to come, and we have to brave it somehow. 

I think about Jeff passing and how we all knew it was coming. We had to prepare our hearts, but we really couldn’t… and God was still there to carry what we couldn’t in the first place. 

For the joy set before him- he endured the cross. Can we just stop and think about that? Jesus knew the full extent of the pain to come… think about Gethsemane. The weight of the guilt and shame of the entire world…upon him. Yet, because of the joy set before him… he endured the cross. 

What will I endure for the joy set before me? What about you?
Maybe the better question is… do we know about the joy

So often in my life, my biggest excuse for not doing something is the fear of future pain. That’s why we all build up walls, right? We don’t want to get hurt, again, or at all. I think a lot about my family. This year God called me to bring down some of those walls and open up to them again which I probably hadn’t done since I was a child, if ever (yet, I am not much greater than a child now). Since then I’ve actually answered the question “How are you doing?” with more than a begrudging “Fine.” but with honesty regardless of the content. Since then, since letting my mom, my dad, my brothers back into my life God has shown His glory in my mom confessing Christ as her savior, going to church and now bringing my brother Adam along too. Adam and I were baptized together as children- he hadn’t been to church probably once in the last 8 or 9 years. Now he’s been twice and he’s singing and praising. Man, if I would have known about this joy coming… 

I could have know though. “To live is Christ, but to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) “God works for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) Maybe it is possible to have hope in every circumstance. 

Then I think to myself… what if Christ had decided to not endure the cross? (I just rewinded the entirety of life for a second.) 

I’m sure a lot of people would say the same; that we probably wouldn’t be here today. I probably wouldn’t have made it through my life without the Holy Spirit holding me strong and leading my life. Nope, not a chance. If my reward, my joy, is having my name written in the book of life (Luke 10:20) and there’s no cross- no atonement, no resurrection, no Holy Spirit, no redemption, no intercession, no relationship… there would be no hope. Wow. 

Praise God Jesus did. 

(Talking about the men of faith in the OT) Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

12 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 11:36-12:3)

One time I heard someone talk about us being in relationship again with our Maker was part of that joy set before Him. Kind of like that reference to a mother forgetting the pain of labor when the joy of being with her baby takes over. 

Carry on in faith!

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