From the womb to the tomb, life is a journey. The only way to truly make it a journey of joy is to walk it with Jesus . . . every step of the way.
Now, to walk with Jesus is to walk like Jesus, and walking like Jesus is characterized by laying your life down for others. The key that unlocks the door leading to a journey of joy in this life is understanding the biblical truth that other-orientation is more blessed than self-focus.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter 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.
Did you see that? Jesus’ joy was you! The joy set before Jesus was the eternity He will spend with you . . . because of His life, death, and resurrection. Holding that truth in view, He endured the cross, scorning its unimaginable shame and horror. His journey was a journey of joy because He knew what the end result would be. And so do you! You have been promised an eternity in the new heavens and the new earth, where there will be no more tears, sorrow, pain, or death.
In a word, our Lord’s journey of joy was marked by giving; Jesus gave of Himself by laying down His life for you. Make no mistake, the most joyful people in this world are those who give the most. They give of their time. They give of their talent. They give of their treasure. They give just like their Lord gave, and they live a joyful life.
To be sure, we all like to get stuff. There is joy in receiving the good gifts our Lord gives to us, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the Word of God makes it clear that there is infinitely more joy in giving. Remember, God’s economy is not like the world’s. By nature we are self-centered and self-absorbed; but after Jesus shows up, our hearts begin beating for Jesus (vertically) and for others (horizontally).
So . . . we’ve seen that Jesus’ joy was you; is your joy Jesus? Where in your life are you putting others first? Where are you laying down your life, your agenda, your preferences, and your expectations for the good of others? Take a look at this powerful truth as it relates to the journey of joy.
J = Jesus – Make Jesus your first priority in both life and death . . .
O = Others – Next comes others—all others—to serve and care for them . . .
Y = You – After loving God and serving others, you will find that you are walking the joy journey!
When Jesus saved you, He saved you for service. Your salvation is not about you; it is about Jesus Christ and the life He has called you to live for His glory and the good of others. When “the joy set before you” is rooted in yourself, it is little joy indeed. But when the joy set before you is rooted in a cross-shaped life (vertically = lived for God / horizontally = lived for others), your joy will be full and satisfying all the way into glory.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!