It’s been said that “there’s no faster track for your soul to find satisfaction than on the path of servanthood.”
In truth, Jesus himself said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26).
Followers of Jesus should have a servant spirit that always looks “not to the best interest of themselves but to the greatest interests of others.”
Sometimes servanthood is poorly understood.
While everyone is equal in Christ, not everyone’s roles are equal. A servant-minded mother still has authority over her child. A servant-minded CEO never abandons the responsibility to lead. Ultimately, the attitude and actions of the Christian are characterized by servanthood, not the position that person holds.
A believer in Christ desires to imitate the servant spirit of Christ.
Since Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28), God’s Goal for us: reach out to people who need rest, comfort, and help.
Their Goal? They serve as a channel of his grace to people who are lost in the cycle of poverty, or alcohol, drug addiction, violence, victims of violence, or devalued because of their skin color. If the quest for hope is universal, doesn’t it make great sense to share the joy and satisfaction we have received from Jesus?
Jesus served for the joy set before him. Christians too delight that other people will be privileged to taste heaven’s enduring grace through their service to God in God’s own backyard! Service to all of God’s Children in God’s neighborhood.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Amplified Bible
Jesus, the Example
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, 2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
When a person initiates a new, huge endeavor, his passion to succeed in that endeavor strengthens him to keep his eye on the goal in front of him.
For example, as an athlete starts a race, their desire and their goal to win that race helps them keep both of their eyes and feet fixed on the finish line.
While constructing a building, workers who keep their eyes on the architect’s finalized rendering are encouraged to sustain the momentum of the building process.
While we are reading and studying this book called the Bible, which we hold in our hands and our hearts, I have a daily goal of encouraging myself by keeping my sight fixed on God, my Creator and Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith!
With every new daily devotional entry I complete, I move closer and closer to that goal, and it gives me courage to keep writing every morning. As a result of my writing, staying on track, you are prayerfully reading this devotional today.
But what do you think Jesus focused on when He was hanging on the Cross and enduring the agony and shame?
You can imagine that He must have had moments when He thought, I don’t have to do this! I could call on legions of angels to deliver me! I could come down from this Cross! What do you think motivated Him to remain there until the job was done?
Hebrews 12:2 is clear what was motivating Jesus – Joy!
The Joy of Accomplishing the Goal set before Him by His Father.
The Goal: Revealing the Deity of His Father, His Authority, the Completion of the Work which God sent His Son into the World (John 3:16-17) to achieve.
2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].
This verse says Jesus focused on “the joy” that was set before Him as He endured the Cross.
Just like a runner focuses on the finish line, like a builder forges ahead to view the completed building project, and an author anticipates the last written page of a book, Jesus was looking forward to “the joy” of finishing God’s work
I’m sure that somewhere in all of that indescribable agony, as Jesus hung on the Cross, He looked out across eons of time and saw the faces of people who would be saved because of what He was doing. He saw you! He saw me — but what else did He see that motivated Him to stay faithful to the end?
The word “joy” in Greek has a definite article, which means this wasn’t just joy in general, but it was a specific joy.
What was it?
The verse goes on to describe that joyous “finish line” that Jesus set His face like flint toward: “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus had His eyes of faith fixed on the empty throne at the right hand of the Father that was reserved for Him once His victory was complete.
Upon that throne, all enemies would be His footstool, and He would commence the next part of His high priestly ministry to intercede for everyone who would ever come to Him in time of need (see Hebrews 4:16).
Jesus had His eyes, His heart, His mind — His whole being — fixed on that highly exalted place.
That was the joy set before Him.
When sin and hell were defeated and Jesus was resurrected, that was the seat of authority He ascended into Heaven to occupy.
Ever since that time, from that highly exalted position, Jesus has been serving as Lord of the Church and as the High Priest and Intercessor for every believer.
What is the goal in front of you that keeps you motivated to move ahead even when things are difficult?
If you have no goal, it’s likely you’ll give up.
That’s why it is so important to know exactly where you are headed, what will happen when you get there, and what kind of victory you’ll experience when you attain that long-awaited position.
Just as Jesus had a joyous outcome set before Him, I guarantee that you and I have a joyous outcome placed before us too.
STRENGTH TO RUN THE RACE, FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE WHICH PERSEVERE
The Joy of the Lord is our Strength and our Stronghold: Nehemiah 8:9-10
Psalm 18:1-2: “I love You [fervently and devotedly], O Lord, my strength.”
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me;
My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold.
BY OUR LOVE AND THROUGH OUR OBEDIENCE: THE ABUNDANT LIFE
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Amplified 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding closely to Him; for He is your life [your good life, your abundant life, your fulfillment] and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord promised (swore) to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
How does all of this speak to our 2022 hearts. our souls and our servanthood?
Hebrews 12:2 Amplified Bible
2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [a]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].
Looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus who is the Author and Perfector of faith ….
What are those distractions from which we need to avert our 2022 eyes?
What are those divisions we need to set aside, from which we need to Unite?
How do we come together in the Gospel, to grapple with, to debate, to discuss, challenge comprehend, understand, teach, preach – God’s Joy in our Koinonia?
God’s Goal which is Koinonia – “for the Joy of the Lord which is before us …”?
We are the Body of Christ – We are the Church in the World,
For the “JOY OF THE LORD” which is ever BEFORE US ….
- What are you and I building with our lives?
- What keeps you and I motivated to stay on “God’s track?”
- What will it look like when you and I finish it?
- What are you and I “writing” with our faith, our hope and our “love”?
- What will the final chapter of our lives look like because you and I have come together, eyes focused on Jesus alone, done what Jesus has asked us to do?
- What is the specific joy that is set before you and me?
- Is there any genuine strength in our Koinonia goal of “Joy of the Lord?”
Sometimes when you are working hard to do what God has asked you to do, it can seem overwhelming, but progress is gained one step at a time.
The increments of forward movement might seem tiny, but no matter how big or small the steps, you can know that you are inevitably progressing toward the goal that God has set for our lives.
When I was a young man of 41, God showed me the purpose of my life, and that purpose has been in front of me ever since.
In times of hardship, I’ve kept my eyes focused on that goal which God set before me, because fulfilling that divine purpose is what my life is all about.
Sometimes it seemed like all I could do was take baby steps — yet each step has been a step in the right direction. That’s the way I have lived these last twenty years focused, moving in the direction of the purpose God has revealed to me.
If you get your eyes off the goal, start focusing on how small your steps are along the way, it is probable you’ll get discouraged, give up before you arrive.
So today I want to encourage you to lift your eyes and look beyond to the joy, the victory, and the utter fulfillment of what God has planned for your life.
Even Jesus possessed a goal to help Him stay focused as He underwent intense suffering and hung on that Cross.
So today I exhort everyone who koinonias, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, to make a fresh consecration before the Lord to submit to His will for your lives.
Then exercise your authority in Jesus’ name and resist the devil (see James 4:7)!
And as you and I move forward in obedience to the Lord’s voice, keep our eyes of faith, hope and love fixed on the prize Jesus has set before both you and me.
That is what will sustain our determination to stay in God’s place and stay on God’s track until we can finally shout, we have reached our God-ordained goal!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
At the starting line of this day,
we call on your name, God of grace.
As we run the race you have set before us,
help us to keep our eyes on your goals, not our own.
When we falter, give us fresh strength and courage.
When we are fleet-footed, let us give you the glory.
Keep us from wanting to win at other’s expense
or to count ourselves better than those at our side.
All runners are your children.
In the race You imagine,
each one is a winner. Alleluia! Amen.