In Context Hebrews 12:1-3 reads ~ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured......so you don't grow weary or fainthearted....
For the joy set before Him Jesus endured. There was a joy that was constantly before him. It was this joy that strengthened him and drove Him to achieve the Fathers purpose. Jesus saw the end. He saw the prize, many redeemed.
How could Jesus say, My yoke is easy and my burden is light, if there was not a joy before Him he was constantly seeing? Hebrews tells us this man Jesus was anointed with the oil of joy. If Jesus was, we can be too. We know in His presence is fulness of joy and we are encouraged to live there. We know joy is our strength.
When we murmur and complain about what we "have to do" there is no joy. Where there is no joy, there is not whole hearted devotion. We are to serve with joyfulness and gladness of heart. We are to give willingly and cheerfully. We might be obedient but are we willing? Joy is always willing. Joy doesn’t ‘have to’, it moves us to ‘want to’.
Jesus does not consider his work burdensome. He didn't complain on earth, and I can't see him seated at the Fathers right hand fussing about praying for us. People did not discourage him, nor did circumstances overwhelm him. The joy of knowing that His sacrifice would pave the way for our redemption and reconciliation was enough for Him to endure.
As a matter of fact, Jesus says come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden. Whats happening to us when our service to the Lord no longer holds any joy. What are we considering? What are we looking at?
Pauls letter to the Philippians is filled with joy and thanksgiving for individuals, for their faith and their love. His life is yielded for these people whom he loves and lives for. He calls them his joy and his crown.
The Message Bible reads ~
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. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
We don't want to just run our race, we want to run it with joy. We want to grow in our love for the brethren with a willingness to die daily for the well being of another. We don’t want to wear out, burn out or give up. We want to move from faith to faith, glory to glory, and strength to strength. This can’t be done in our own power. We want to finish our course with joy. We want to look forward to the crown that is laid up for us. Just as Jesus made light of the disgrace of the cross and it’s humiliation, we too must must view our momentary light afflictions as nothing in order to finish our course with joy.
There must be a joy set before us so we can endure. Shoot some adrenaline to the soul.