By: Waylon Bailey
No one despises joy. Joy is universally appreciated and desired. It is a great gift from God.
Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In the great list of nine qualities the Spirit brings to our lives, joy follows only love in the list. Love, joy, and peace make up the first of three sets of three qualities bestowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Even though joy is the fruit of the Spirit, we must ask what we do to add to the joy to our lives.
Hebrews 12:2 helps answer that question. Scripture describes Jesus as having endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. The apostle encouraged the people of his day–and us–to run with endurance the race God has set before us. We are able to do that by “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:2, HCSB).
I see three reasons why something as abhorrent as the cross could be “joyful.”
First, Jesus was obedient to the Father. He always lived in the will of the Father. Now, in His most demanding experience, He continued obedient. For every person, obedience to our Heavenly Father brings joy.
Second, He carried out God’s plan. Jesus was the Lamb of God sacrificed before the foundation of the world. This had been God’s plan from the very beginning. The Son executed the plan perfectly.
Finally, by His death on the cross Jesus provided for you and me a way to the kingdom of God. He thus finished His work and sat down at the right hand of the Father.
How can we experience joy? We, too, can live in obedience to the Father and carry out His plan for us. Even though we might have difficult jobs, we can experience His joy through our faithfulness to His calling.
May God grant you joy as you live for Him.
Have a great week in anticipation of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.