For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and JOY in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17) As Christians our joy should be “full.” We should have “joy unspeakable”. So why are so many Christians living short of that promise? Many of us look for that joy sometime in the distant future when we leave this earth by either rapture or death. We think our lot in life is to suffer and live in misery waiting on the promise. Some believers substitute the true joy of the Lord with self-righteousness or false humility, getting a fake joy out of their performances. Even this doesn’t last; they soon can’t keep the performance up and fall into shame and guilt. Others give up completely and turn to the world and fulfill lusts that bring only temporary happiness and never joy. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus found joy in what was “set before him”, joy that allowed him to suffer on the cross. What was that joy? I believe it was the salvation of the world- saving of lost souls, the reconciling of all back to the Father. Only one thing could have kept him from receiving that joy, and that would have been giving in to his flesh. Satan tempted Jesus to do just that, a way contrary to God’s plan, but Jesus refused. We too have to crucify our flesh. We talk about how the Jews, the Centurions, Rome and even ourselves, killed Jesus. All are true. However, Jesus performed the TRUE Crucifixion (of his flesh) in the Garden… before a soldier ever touched a spike. He cried out to the Father in his hour of flesh sweating blood in his battle! In the end, HE crucified his flesh by saying, “not my will, Father, but yours.” Jesus received his joy! He chose to receive it! We do the crucifying, with God’s strength and help, and God gives us the joy! That joy is in conquering sin in our lives and leading others to Jesus. If Jesus’ joy was in the saving of souls, shouldn’t ours be too? Time is winding down. Can’t you feel how it is flying by! Are you crucifying your flesh, ridding your life of sin? Are you feeding your spirit with The Word? Are you building yourself up with your heavenly language? When the “shaking” begins, will you be able to stand? Are you “planting, watering and harvesting” souls? True revival is a heart hot on fire, in love, with God. But it is also the burning desire to see others come to the Father. Revival won’t happen without both. Where is your heart today?
Heb 12:1-27 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”