HEBREWS 12:2 | Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer 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.
For most, the Advent and Christmas season is a joy-filled time of the year. From the festivities to the decorations to the time off of work and school, there are simply many reasons people associate this holiday season with an increased level of joyfulness.
As followers of Christ, this season is especially joy-filled because we are celebrating the coming of our King. In Hebrews 12:2 we gain great insight on the motivating power of joy as it played out in Jesus’s life. Our Savior was able to endure the greatest hardship imaginable because he knew what it would produce. He took on the weight of sin because of what he foresaw. Jesus clearly had an eternal perspective on joy. It was much more than a fleeting experience of personal happiness; it was the fulfillment of his greatest desire for humanity—to be reunited with the Father—and that was a motivating reality. Jesus was willing to do anything necessary to realize that joy-filled vision.
As a missionary focused on bridging the divide between the Church and the musician community, I often find myself overwhelmed. The music world is viewed by many Christians as Satan’s playground, and therefore often overlooked as a mission field. A vision for gospel transformation in the musician community is seen by most as an unlikely reality, or an impossible aspiration. In my moments of discouragement and doubt I turn to the JOY I’ve seen and the JOY I dream to see. As I shift my reflections from the hardships of my assignment to the testimony of how God has already begun to establish his Kingdom in the music world, I am motivated to persevere.
Take for example my friends in the gospel reggae band, Christafari. After years as a working band, they began re-imagine their ministry, turning to the JOY they dreamt to see. As a result, they adopted a lifestyle as “Musicianaries” where they began to raise funds to take the good news of Jesus around the world to reach the lost. To say God has shown them favor in this step of faith would be a major understatement. In just the last year they’ve counted over 120,000 decisions for Jesus through their tours around the world.
Seeing this startling movement of God, I find myself dreaming about a new normal for the next generation of musicians. I long to see them walking in an unshakeable faith and with a clarity of calling unlike anything that’s been seen before. As I fix my eyes on the JOY of Jesus, I can endure my own current challenges and have great hope for what God can and will do.
This Advent I challenge you to embrace an eternal perspective on JOY. Take inventory of what’s broken in your life (or in the situations around you) and pray for God to show you what it would look like for his will to be accomplished in light of the brokenness you perceive. Ask him to fill you with joy from Heaven. Dream big. Look for ways that you can partner with God, the hope of the world, to see joy produced out of painful and impossible situations.