Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You could see, hear and feel the fire from a block away. It was surreal and frightening. Onlookers stood by waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. Then suddenly, a man broke through the crowd and made for the burning building. Without hesitation, he crossed the threshold and disappeared inside. No one could believe what they were seeing. They wondered how someone could put himself in what was very clear and apparent danger. What they did not know was that someone the man loved was inside that building. Yes, he was at the point of sacrificing life itself if necessary, but that was for the greater goal of saving another. At one time, we were inside that burning building. Then, as people looked on in disbelief, Jesus ran into that building to save us.
When we try to think of images that convey joy, we probably do not picture Jesus hanging on the cross. This image might bring us sadness or compassion, but we must remember that what our Savior accomplished on that day was a great joy for him and for us. The sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ was followed by the joy of his victory over sin and death along with our freedom and redemption. He allowed himself to go through the fire so that we could emerge unscathed and whole. When we speak of the Lord’s joy, we speak of his joy in conquering the enemy and being reconciled to the creation made in his image. The heavens rejoiced at his work and so should we. When we consider what He has done for us, it is a wonder that we are not filled with palpable and evident joy at all times.
The Lord gave himself for the joy that He would receive through victory. We can harness this joy when we take on the enemy in battle. The joy of the Lord is a reflection of the victory we have in Jesus Christ. No matter what comes our way, we know that we already have won. There is no question of how this will all end. Knowing that, God’s joy should be flowing through us as we contemplate this victory daily. Our battles are daily, and are rejoicing in victory should be daily as well. When we ask the Lord to fill us with joy and then resolve to walk in that joy, we will experience the victory that Jesus won for us. Father, thank You for the redemption you have offered through your Son, and keep us continually joyful in his victory.