Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message)
So here we are, about to enter the final week of Lent. Now more than ever we need to see Jesus. We need to watch how he handles the hurdles and the hill.
Why? Because we are in the race of our lives and we have the best coach possible. He’s run this race. He’s faced unbelievable opposition and odds–and he received the greatest prize in the end.
Yesterday we considered what it meant to follow him, the surrender. So often we think of surrender as quitting. Not so. There’s no quit in this journey, this race. When we feel the weariest, we need to look to the author and perfecter, the initiator and finisher, the one who called us and goes with us, cheers all the way along, and will be waiting as we cross the finish line.
It’s going to get tougher. But don’t quit. Surrender to his coaching, cheering, and ability to get you all the through.
PRAYER: Whatever it takes, Lord Jesus, I want to finish this race. Strengthen me when I’m weary. Coach me when I falter. Help me hear your cheers and instructions above the noise of the world. I reaching for the prize and keeping my eyes on you. Amen.
I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m not going to wish you a “happy” New Year. But that’s because I want so much for you.
No, I think I will wish you a Joyous! New Year.
Hair splitting? Perhaps. But I think happiness is an emotion that is determined by the situation or circumstances. While joy is an outlook or perspective that prevails despite the ups and downs of circumstances.
I am basing this line of thinking on James instruction:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4, NIV)
Reading this, I wonder if James is referring back to Jesus’ word and giving us a better picture of what Jesus meant: 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
And just what was Jesus’ joy? It was his absolute surrender to the will of the Father: “. . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” (Hebrews 12:2). “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8).
There is nothing easy about joy. But without it life lacks so much…and it would appear to be incomplete.
So in wishing you a joyous New Year, I am hoping you will have the ability to face the things life holds for you and see God at work and rest in the promise that you will have everything that you need.
Let there be joy!