Whilst out walking I gazed up at this tree with entangled roots and some words from the New Testament letter to the Hebrews came to mind.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Just looking at this tree reminded me of my own life and the entanglement of a selfish life that I once allowed to flourish but now is the most aggressive enemy that I chose to battle against daily. Why do I refer to selfishness when the word used is sin? Well let’s look at again at this text.
We are called to run a race with endurance which is ….. set before us. We are to fix our eyes of Jesus who also ran the race …….. for the JOY set before Him.
The joy must have been so special because for it He endured the cross and the shame of its violent torture.
What was the JOY set before Him? What was so special that he endured so much for this Joy. What did He see before Him?
He will see it!
Isaiah 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.
He will see His offspring!
Isaiah 53:10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
The JOY that was set before Him was Me and YOU. Did you see that? YOU are His JOY.
Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
But what about us and our race?
The Apostle Paul makes mention of Joy on many occasions but here’s just two
Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
1Thessalonians 2:20 For you are our glory and joy.
The church the body of Christ, each brother and sister were Paul’s Joy. Likewise, our Joy is to be found in our love for one another and in casting off the entanglement of selfishness we can experience the joy of love for one another
Run the race for Joy
1Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Paul tells us that those who run a race run to receive a prize but only one gets the prize. How does that work for us? Are we running a selfish race to beat all others and win the prize? How can that be the joy of love?
The selfish runner competes as an individual a when I ran that race I did so to win at the loss of others and that basically sin. The race that Paul asks us to run in is a race that is run in such a way that the ONE BODY or family of God will win. We now run a race for the joy of each other, it’s a race that only the body as a whole can win. We leave no one behind for they are our joy.
We are the Joy of Christ, let us run in such a way that we win together!
John 17:13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.