. . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
There are so many moments throughout life that I have wanted to bottle up and keep forever to enjoy over and over. Moments like the birth of my first son and each of his siblings thereafter. The moment I placed my hand on my bride’s back and felt those beads draping her stunning self. The day I received the call for my first real job! The second I finally made it atop a 13,000 foot mountain, on foot, and peered from the top of the world! The day I watched my middle schooler cross the finish line in first place. The day my youngest caught his first fish. And the list goes on. Bottles and bottles of joy! Oh, that we could just bottle it all up and keep it, experience it, taste and see it over and over.
In some, metaphorical way, we actually do. With photos we revisit those moments, but the joy is somewhat diluted. And with understanding and with time, our eyes become less fixed on those moments and diverted to other joyous moments or moments calling for far less celebration. Either through an alternative experience or a devastation, there comes a moment when bottles we’ve stored in our wine-cellar like hearts gets broken. What in the world do I do when a precious and very dear bottle gets broken?
The scripture tells us that the joy I store up in those bottles is not the joy I am to fix my eyes upon. So, when a bottle I’ve stored up gets broken, it is through the joy I find in Christ that heals that brokenness and allows me to continue to experience the joy in those bottles I feel is lost.
Circumstances in the “here and now” often distract me from the joy I find in my relationship with Christ. And I often confuse the joy, or lack thereof, with the continuation of the joy found in my bottles. That comparison is not fair to the Truth found in the joy so ever available through Christ Himself, who lives within me!
Fixing my eyes on that joy means keeping a focus on those things set before me. It is not meant for just a moment, but for life because of who I am! I do this not because of the satisfaction in the moment, but for the result set before me. It is the encounter of the One who IS joy, who endured the most undeserved suffering for me on whom I can remain focused, because of the joy in Him through eternity.
I must focus on where I am going! So many things are there to distract me like anxiety, depression, loneliness, separation, fatigue, unworthiness, discouragement. But I then remember the Truth, that God has conquered all of these. When I take life with Him in focus, I can see more clearly His love, His Truth, His hope, His patience, His joy, His peace.
So, I focus my thoughts on the character and promises of my Savior, all things change! Life changes! The joy in those broken bottles are experienced once again through His joy and the world looks different, through Christ in me, the Hope and Glory!
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy. I Thessalonians 2:19-20
by: Mark Cruver