Joy that Can't Be Taken Away

Joy in the midst of sufferings sounds like nonsense until one ponders how often it occurs in everyday life: having surgery, giving birth to a child, preparing for an athletic contest, agonizing over information before a big test, pushing your muscles to climb a mountain, and on and on. We recognize that in each of these it is not suffering nor joy that is being pursued. Rather, one has set a goal and is doing what is necessary to achieve it. The “Joy of the Lord”comes when one sets his goal to grow in knowledge and imitation of Jesus; believing the promises of God and committing one’s self to walk in obedience to God’s commands no matter what the consequences. The writer of Hebrews points us in the same direction when he wrote: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author 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” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

3 Responses to “Joy that Can't Be Taken Away”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    I like your reflection here. I’m going to have to listen to the sermon to hear more. I think I’ll go listen to it while I do the dishes!
    Jeremy Fike

  2. avatar Jeremy says:

    You make a good point, but the examples presented are those when we have chosen to suffer for a goal. Perhaps what can now be addressed is suffering that is not chosen, that is not a means to an end. Suffering that is, just that, suffering, without rhyme or reason. Christ did suffer, more than we can imagine, but it was still his choice to suffer.

  3. avatar Byron says:

    Jeremy,

    When Paul says he wants to “share in Christ’s sufferings” he is referring to a choice he makes. It is the choice of obedience to God regardless of consequences that is required when we follow in the steps of Jesus.

    As you point out there is a suffering that has nothing to do with our choices. It is simply a consequence of living in a sin-stained world full of disease, accidents, and sinful people whose selfishness brings terrible pain to innocent people. Unfortunately in a study of Philippians that does not come under consideration. Perhaps a study of Job would be in order. Stay tuned.