A Heart Filled With Joy
Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around your feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.
If you want to keep from becoming faint-hearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him. Hebrews 12: 1-3 (TLB)
Shelley Marolla lives in Victoria, Australia. She has recently enjoyed watching a show where a consultant helps people declutter and tidy up their homes. The consultant's method is to have items in the home that only spark joy. Clients go through every item they own. If the item sparks joy, they keep it, and if it doesn't, they get rid of it. It is satisfying to see the joy people feel afterward, when they no longer have clutter in their homes.
This got Shelley thinking about the clutter we all have - not in our homes, but in our hearts. Perhaps it's a comment someone made years ago that we keep replaying in our minds, or the disappointment toward someone for a wrong they did. But Shelley believes God wants to declutter our hearts. What if we refuse to dwell on or be hindered by the memories, behaviors, or thoughts that don't spark joy in our lives?
As Hebrews 12: 1-3 tells us, we can do this by looking to Jesus as our example. Jesus was betrayed and tortured. Yet the Bible tells us that because of the joy before him, he endured. Joy gives us the endurance we need to run our race and to get through the rough times.
Prayer: Dear Lord, show us the things in our hearts that don't speak joy, and help us release them to you. Help us to run our race with joy and endurance, in Jesus' name. Amen.