by Tim Stephens, EWS Developer/Designer/Digital Marketing Specialist
". . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross. . ."
Joy is a unique and beautiful concept. We regularly associate joy with feelings of happiness and glee and other fortunate states of wellbeing, but in the life of a Christ-follower, joy is often best represented in a steadfast service to His Kingdom during our trials and pain. Happiness and joy are not mutually exclusive, but while happiness is primarily influenced by external factors, joy is a consistent and internal state that surpasses our circumstance.
This is iterated time and time again throughout the Bible:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” 1 Peter 1:6
“. . . sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10
As followers of Christ, we desire to imitate the servant spirit that Jesus has exemplified for us. His unrelenting and sacrificial servanthood and care endured all things - all trials, even to the cross – with Joy! Philippians 2:5 tells us that our attitude “should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” We are called to serve, as He did, with joy.
We aren’t promised happiness, particularly as we seek to serve the weary, the broken, the poor and the hurting, but we can find joy in the work that we do… and what better service to find joy in than to speak to and rescue life? In fact, what better service to experience happiness birthed from joy? As we reach the women and men that are scared and hurting, as we see the lives of innocent children saved and as we have opportunity to see first-hand some of those children grow and experience life, we can receive a happiness and glee beyond measure.
As I write this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite lyrics:
“Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.”
Take time today to be encouraged and to encourage others as we march onward as victors in the midst of strife. We may be opposed, oppressed, and ostracized, yet we will move forward in obedience, with joy in our hearts and our eyes fixed on Jesus, in the triumph song of life.
Want more Tim Stephens? Join him and a team of Heartbeat experts for an In-Depth Day about reaching women through websites, social media, local search, and more. Just sign up for If You're Going to Change Her World, She'll Need to Find You First. He will also be presenting a workshop called Effective Websites for a Digital World in the Marketing Ministries track.