(Note: One word I used -besides certain scripture verses and phrases, is hyperlinked to its definition).
2020 has been a rough year for many- if not most, of us. This year has included the still not ended COVID-19 pandemic, the death of George Floyd, a tense presidential election and more. This definitely hasn’t been a good year.
2020 hasn’t been a wonderful year for me personally either, yet all that I have been through this year has increased my love for Jesus. I am realizing more and more that everything in this life is only here for a while, and simultaneously I am realizing on a deeper level that a relationship with God is the most permanent and long lasting experience that I will ever have. Even if I die before Jesus comes, if I die with a heart that is surrendered to Him, I will once again enjoy a beautiful relationship with Him when I am resurrected again to live with Him in Heaven and eventually in the New Earth. Then I will be able to live in sweet fellowship with Jesus forever (more on this beautiful theology in a future blog-post).
We all need encouragement and a sense of purpose that will keep us going through hard times. It is so wonderful that we have an example from Someone who never lost His courage and sense of purpose despite all that He went through while He was on the earth. This Person is Jesus.
Throughout His time on earth, Jesus kept His purpose in mind. His purpose was and is to save humanity from sin and to reconcile us to God ( Matthew 1:21; Romans 5:10-11). Also, throughout His time on earth, no matter what people said about Him, Jesus knew who He was. He knew that He was God the Son- fully God and part of the God-head. He never lost His sense of humble dignity.
Jesus loves people to the extreme degree. He knew while He was on earth, and He stills knows, that most of the people that He died for either have not and/or will not accept Him as their loving personal Savior and Lord. It is horrible to realize that some of the people who Jesus died for were actually the ones who put Him on the cross. Jesus did not hate them. He hated their actions, but He loved them. While on the cross, He prayed: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…“ Luke 23:34 (KJV).
The kind of love that Jesus has is the kind that gives everyone a chance and does not feel bad for doing so- even if a person rejects his or her chance. I believe that God wants to put this same kind of love into all of our hearts. This kind of love can help us to keep going. Even if we try to help people and they turn down our help, we do not need to feel bad for having tried to help them. We can still have peace in our hearts from knowing that we did what we could do. One of the last things I want is the guilt that comes from knowing that where I could have helped someone, I did nothing.
Focusing in on Jesus again, the result of all that He suffered on the cross is not all discouragement and disappointment. In a Messianic prophecy about Jesus, it says;
“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities” Isaiah 53:11 (NKJV).
Also, the apostle Paul was inspired by God to write these words:
“..Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV).
Do you know what the “joy that was set before Him” was/is? It was and is the hope of spending eternity with His children! You and I are privileged to be able to accept Jesus and to have the hope of living with Him eternally in heaven and in the earth made new. In a world without sin and all the pain and suffering it causes, there is a level of joy that none of us have experienced yet. I want to experience this eternal joy, don’t you?
The very next verse after the one I last quoted says this:
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” Hebrews 12:3 (NKJV).
The“joy that was set before Him” kept Jesus motivated to keep going even when people were mean and rough towards Him. It kept Him going no matter what.
As I move toward closing this blog-post, I invite you to soak in these verses:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)
I want love for God and love for other people to be my motivators this coming year and every year. Don’t you? Jesus can help us to be loving, purposeful and courageous as He is. When our purpose is to love, Jesus will give us the courage and purposefulness to love.
I wanted to close this blog-post with a beautiful song that helps me to get a taste of the joy that Jesus and we will have in heaven (the chorus especially).
Note: In this song, you will hear the term “lamb”. The “lamb” referred to in this song is Jesus. John the Baptist said, referring to Jesus:
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 (KJV)
Courage and Happy New Year 2021!
The hyperlinked verses in this blog-post are from the New King James Version. I quoted Isaiah 53:11 and Hebrews 12:2-3 from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.