Keep your eye on joy
“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Have you ever despised the shame of something? Maybe you had a humiliating moment at a sporting event? Maybe you have things in your past that you are ashamed of or maybe you have been criticized for your faith? Everyone at some point has things that have embarrassed or shamed them. It is inevitable. Our lives here on earth are a series of trials, tests, and struggles. Our goal is to overcome. Today’s verse is about Jesus keeping His focus on what was beyond the cross to overcome death and give us the victory. The truth is, without a trial, test, or struggle, there can be no victory.
A good example of this is athletics. An athlete that competes must first prepare for the competition. He must discipline himself to eat the right diet and to do the daily training required to even have a chance at the prize. He cannot skip even one day of his training. Most days, he probably doesn’t feel like training, but he overcomes his feelings because he knows he must suffer in order to be prepared for the competition. He keeps his focus on what his desired outcome is . . . Victory! In order to get to that victory, he must go through the struggle, discipline, and intense training required. He does it because he knows there is joy in his accomplishment. Never focusing on the pain and intense effort of today, but his eyes and thoughts are always fixed on the joy of the prize at the end of the race.
It’s the same thing with issues and problems we face each day. If we sit idly by or just ignore difficulties, most of the time they will derail us from our overall goals and victories. We need to keep our eye on the prize and remain single minded (focused). This is where the preparation time becomes so crucial. You have to build your faith and trust in God day to day so that when the difficult times come, you are ready to overcome with the Word of God and your faith anchored strongly in Him through your relationship with Him. Think of it this way. If a thief breaks into your home, that is not the time to start looking for your weights to be strong enough to overcome him. You must make those preparations ahead of time. It works the same way with overcoming the obstacles of life. You must do the daily workout before the trial/“breaks in” happens The common mind set in today’s world is to take the path of least resistance. It seems easier when a crisis comes to make a course correction to avoid it, but without the struggle and pressing through, you can never get to your desired results/goal.
Today’s verse also said that “joy” was set before Jesus. He knew that after he went through it all, there would be great joy at the end. We don’t always have a choice about going through things, but we do have a choice to be prepared and where to focus. Keep reminding yourself there is joy coming in the victory you are heading toward. Even though you are not there yet, it is time to be confident in God’s love to make you more than a conqueror. That’s what He did in our Savior Jesus, and that’s what He wants to do in you!
Today I want to encourage you to strengthen your faith by getting more of God’s Word in your heart. Make spending time fellowshipping with God a priority in your daily “workout.” Get prepared for all obstacles by being focused on what is on the other side of your fight and get ready for the joy of victory through every trial that comes your way. Thank goodness we will never have to suffer like Jesus did, but we can still prepare like He did. Start today by pressing into your relationship with your Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus and be prepared for every trial, test and struggle that comes your way.
Today’s scripture reading: Hebrews 12:1-11