Some days, I just don’t feel like dealing with stuff. Big, scary stuff, like confrontations, difficult people, stressful issues, major projects.
To be honest, some days (not many, and not often) I just don’t feel like dealing with little stuff. Like basic life in general. Let alone handling tough stuff, or pressing on.
But sometimes in life, you have to do things that you don’t want to do. Sometimes, life is hard, and you just have to deal. Sometimes you just put on your big-boy pants (or big-girl pants, as the case may be!) and do what needs to be done even though you don’t want to. Even though it’s tough. Because that’s life, and that’s what adults do.
That’s what mature people do.
And that’s what followers of Jesus do.
The words from our reading today always challenge me – and always encourage me:
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1b-3 (NIV)
Let us run our race with perseverance – let’s stick with it, even in adversity. Never give up.
As we run our race, let’s keep our fixed on Jesus – He’s our goal, the center of our lives. He is our motivation, our prize that we keep our eyes on.
And as we run, let’s remember how Jesus ran – for the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, He endured shame, and He endured the opposition of sinners. Let’s remember how He ran His race, because that will keep us from growing weary and losing heart.
Jesus ran the race “for the joy set before Him.” He knew the rewards. He knew that the outcome was worth the price that had to paid.
I think sometimes that’s why we become weary, why we have days where we don’t want to face life – we forget the end result. We get our eyes off of Jesus. We forget Who waits for us at the finish line.
And we forget that joy comes from obedience.
If Jesus had not obeyed, He would not have experienced the “joy set before Him.”
You see, when we think of joy, obedience is probably one of the last words that come to mind.
When we think of obedience, we tend to think of words like “difficult.”
“Not fun.” (Okay, that was two words. But you get my point.)
But when Jesus speaks of obedience, different words come out.
Words like “joy.”
And “whatever you ask for.” (Way more than a word. But you get the idea.)
So all that to say this – as the week draws to a close, as you try to just get through Friday so you breathe a little – get your eyes off of what you have to do, or what you don’t want to do, or what you dread doing.
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
Run your race – or your day – like Jesus did.
Remember that the price you pay today will be worth, because Jesus rose. Jesus conquered.
Remember that obedience doesn’t lead to drudgery – it leads to joy.
Whatever comes your way today; whatever is on your to-do list (and I don’t know about yours, but mine’s pretty long); whatever you’ve got coming up that you wish you could just put off or delegate or ignore or just not deal with – remember!
Jesus endured all that He did for the joy set before Him.
And you and I can, too.
One last thing – the joy set before Jesus?
For God so loved that world that He gave His one and only son…why? So that you could have eternal life. So that Jesus could get to enjoy your presence with Him in heaven. You are part of His joy – part of His reward.