experiencing joy when we are unhappy

We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. [Hebrews 12:2 GW]

In some sense faith is a circle. It begins with Jesus when are spiritually born. This is when we first meet him. The circle ends when we meet him in the next life. Between these divine meetings Jesus teaches us how to live a life of faith. In that sense he is the source, the means and the goal.

I love what this verse teaches us about the relationship between suffering and joy. It helps us understand that we can experience joy even when we suffer. Yet such a joy cannot be realized if our focus is inward. We experience joy when we, like Christ on the cross, are focused on others.

In this light we understand the difference between being happy and being joyous. We can have joy even when we are unhappy if our attention turns to how our affliction can benefit others. We can endure unhappy circumstances if our eyes are focused on Jesus and the kind of joy that he saw.

Teach me Lord to turn my focus away from myself and onto others,

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Hebrews.

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