Running on Empty
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
2 things to begin with:
- Romans 8:38-39 — Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
- Romans 8:28-29 — God will work all things for our good & from the beginning of time, God is making us to be like Jesus.
Bad things don’t happen because God is mad at us. For a Christian, suffering isn’t meaningless—instead, we can count it as joy because it can make us more like Jesus.
- NOT: “Oh well, everything happens for a reason…”
- BUT: God can use anything for good —> if we love Him
This is a choice! Loving God means choosing to believe in His son and obey His commands (John 14:15) and being conformed not to the world, but to Jesus (Romans 12:1-2).
PUNISHMENT ≠ DISCIPLINE: Becoming like Jesus sometimes means we will endure hardships. We can have joy despite our circumstance because we are being made to grow.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?…God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. (Hebrews 12:7, 10)
Discipline is not bad! The word discipline is awfully close to the word disciple for a reason. A disciple is one who follows Jesus, loving Him with all we are, and being transformed to be like Him!
THEREFORE, we can have COMPLETE JOY! It may take a little “pruning”, but His desire is for our joy (John 15:1-2, 11).
11:56 am • 21 February 2012 • 1 note
Joy = Fuel
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
What we’re being told here is something incredible: Jesus endured something as terrible as the cross because of joy. He didn’t exactly want to be tortured and die on a cross (Luke 22:42), but he knew the great joy that would come from this sacrifice.
In a prayer about believers—which means you, so you want to pay attention—Jesus prays:
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they [us!] may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. (John 17:13)
His joy was this: seeing our joy be made complete. His desire is for our joy—the same joy he had!
…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
This joy is a gift, and it is God’s desire for us to have it, so we can receive it by receiving His Spirit and by asking Him for it.
12:34 pm • 2 February 2012 • 1 note