Being Joyful in all Things.
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“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…”
Hebrews 12:2 English Standard Version
Something about this verse seems a little off. Does it really say that Jesus endured the pain, suffering, and complete separation from God on the cross, for the joy that was set before him? Where is the joy in that? While Jesus is fully God, he is also fully man. The pain and agony of the cross was very real for him, and there seems to be no joy in that. So where does this joy come from? We have to be careful to accurately define what joy is, and what happiness is. Most of us equate joy with happiness, but they are not the same thing. I do not believe that Jesus was incredibly happy suffering on the cross, but I absolutely believe he was full of joy.
Happiness is the pleasure we feel when we are enjoying a time in our lives, where things just seem to be going right, without a care in the world. Happiness comes and goes, but joy can either be a consistent presence in our life or an elusive pursuit. Joy is having hope in the future, knowing that while life is full of peaks and valleys, we live with the knowledge that Jesus has conquered sin, death, and the devil for us. Nothing can separate us from Christ’s sacrifice for us. When we have the joy of our Lord in our lives, it is something that does not escape us during the trials of life.
Think of Paul when he was imprisoned, what was his attitude? He probably was not happy about his time in prison. He had a joyful attitude through it all, because his joy was true joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Paul is referring to in Philippians 4:13 –
” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
Philippians 4:13 New King James Version
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