During this season of Advent, we will be taking a break from our study in the Book of Mark and will instead offer daily devotionals for you to read aloud with your family, pertaining to this Advent season. We will resume our study of Mark in a few weeks.
The Journey To Joy
“. . . for the joy set before Him . . .” Hebrews 12:2
It’s possible for the best of Christians to be discouraged. In the greatest of moments, one can feel cranky, critical and thankless. The need to take exception to the way God works in our life, can steal our joy right out from underneath us. The complaining spirit and bitterness we hold can only be overcome through the discipline of joy. All that’s needed to find lasting joy is found in Christ’s journey to joy.
We need a pattern.
The joy Jesus had was not happiness. The joy within Him was His selfless surrender to His heavenly Father. Jesus never allowed anything to get between Him and His Father. Jesus is our pattern for real relationship. All of the spiritual life that seems abstract is made real through Him. In work and weariness, in popularity and rejection, in success and struggle, Jesus never lost His connection with His Father and, as a result, never lost His joy.
We need His power.
The joy before Him, was the cross. Whatever obstacles lie in our way, none can be greater than what He has overcome. If we use our weakness as an excuse to not obey, then we are telling God there’s something He cannot do. With all He asks from us, He also provides the power to accomplish. When we come to the end of ourselves and recognize our total dependence on Him, then the power of God will be experienced and His joy will be ours.
We need practice.
The joy of Jesus was doing the Father’s will. To do all that the Father had sent Him to do. He took great delight in doing whatever He saw the Father doing. He prayed that our joy would mature until it becomes the same joy as His. Jesus practiced joy from Bethlehem and in every lakeside town along the way, then to Gethsemane and Calvary, then out of a tomb and back to heaven. He endured bitter sufferings. He never turned back, He kept His eyes fixed on the coming joy.
We cannot think ourselves into joy, we must act on it by placing our feet on the road that leads to lasting joy.