Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Joy!
March 1, 2011

C. R. Oliver

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March 1, 2011

Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Joy!

Forget not all His benefits
Psalms 103:2
          Hebrews 12 has an interesting passage that stores more in one sentence than most readers are aware. It has to do with the cross and why Jesus chose to die on it. Two words stand out in the following verses, "joy" and "endured (also endurance)."
Heb 12:1-2
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.
This scripture is about people of faith following Christ's example. He did not look at the tribulation of the cross, but instead embraced the joy of being in the will of God. Soul satisfaction has joy all its own; it knows that after conflagration comes commendation.
Philippians 1:25
...and joy of faith
Jesus endured the cross. He knew when He was nailed to its rails that it was a trial with benefits. It would forever mark history, like a sword unsheathed. Time would be marshaled by it. Its image would imprint millions of hearts and lives would never be the same because of it. To Him, the cross was something that stood in the way of more important things. It was the incredulous barrier of sin and death and it had to be"breached."

"The Joy" outweighed the cross. "The benefits" outweighed the gruesome ignominy of Calvary. Not until one reads "joy" a different way can this be understood. "Joy" joins the ranks of those inefficient English words which fail to convey their truths, similar to the word, love. However, the first descriptions of the Holy Spirit use those very words, love and joy. I personally do not believe it is possible to know their meaning without the insight of the Spirit.
Gal 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...
"Joy" in the context of Hebrews 12 is what W.E. Vine calls a "metonym (a word which stands for other words or meanings). Joy has a range of meanings; at one end of the spectrum, it could connote the gladness of heart for a job well done; at the other end, an expression of satisfaction in the face of the Father. It also could well mean the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 1:6
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.
Joy is a place in God. Apart from Him, there is no counterpart. It is beyond the comprehension of the worldly to understand how Paul could be in chains, guarded with every move, in the despictable of prisons and sing! Joy is IN God. The "joy of the Lord" is spoken of in the same terms Peter described in I Peter 1:8 as, "joy unspeakable (Inexpressible) and full of glory!"

"Joy," sometimes, is that substitute word which is plugged in whenever there is the need to convey a sense of being "beyond the description of feelings." It is that estate where so many rivulets of blessings are pouring into the human soul that the overwhelming effect can only be described as, "Joy."

"Joy," also incorporates many other venues attributing to the elevation of heart. Joy is when a saint participates in an assembly where the Spirit brings him into another dimension and the supernatural begins an exhibition of miracles and healings. Joy rises up inside the redeemed when they recognize the presence of God and are grateful to be where He is. Whenever ministry touches those areas ordained by the Spirit, somewhere in the heart of the believer there rises a gladness of heart which is beyond limits. Joy wells up to salute and honor the things of God.

As Jesus (the man of sorrows [He was still in His human earth suit at the time]) saw beyond the cross to redemption, healing and restoration. Joy welled up in His soul. When He saw the defeat of satan and total satisfaction on the face of the Father, anticipating death and Hell being conquered, joy rose up inside Him. When He envisioned ensuing multitudes forming the church, Calvary became the source of joy.

The great benefits afforded by the joy of the cross flowed into the life of Peter, who boldly declared,
1 Peter 4:13-14
But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
The joy of the cross flowed into Paul, who could say, "I have endured trials, beatings, shipwreck, deprivation, prisons and constant resistance, but I count it as nothing."
2 Corinthians 7:4
Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
The joy of the cross flowed to the heart of the missionary and, like Paul, no difficulty compared to the ward of souls brought into the kingdom of God. As missionaries behold the faces of their spiritual fruit, their lives are worth all the hardship.
3 John 4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
The joy of the cross enters the being of the agonizing intercessor, and his endless watchfulness in the Spirit pales before the product of his vigilance. Testimonies, of prayers answered, find some have been rescued out of peril, some have avoided the crashes of life, some have reached for favor and received it, but all have been rescued by prayer and there is joy in being part of "The Fellowship of the bent knee."

The joy of the cross strengthens the endurance of the evangelist. When the net is drawn and souls enter the kingdom, there swells within his heart that "knowing" which supersedes the definition of euphoria and "histerion."

The joy of the cross engenders the indefatigableness of the pastor who, beyond his capacity, shepherds his sheep with abandon, enduring pain and heartache of great proportion. When he sees the gospel proclaimed by his flock and works of faith initiated and completed in them, there is unparalleled joy.
Psalms 126:5-6
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
The joy of the cross possesses the prophet and his utterances reach beyond the mere recitation of the circumstances. He advances to a realm of dominion housing the Oracles of God. Flooding his spirit is an element of joy which flows from the court of heaven.

The joy of the cross enables the apostle to build upon the foundation of his predecessors and comprehend the fellowship of joy that pulsed in all of them. He can now join with Peter, James and John and speak what he has seen and heard.

There are realms of joy reachable only by and in the Spirit. There are realms which man has not yet entered, but in these extensions of time, they will be attainable and will incorporate all those who wait upon Him. Abandonment to its embrace will have greater expression than the dancing of David or the ecstasy of Miriam.
Psalms 16:11
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Isaiah 12:3
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
Jesus "endured" the cross FOR the Joy (benefits) set before Him.

          (Example: When a father works long hours and toils in labor that seems endless and unappreciated, the recollection of such hardship is wiped away by the glowing faces of his children unwrapping presents, gleeful in their anticipation. All through those hours of labor was the mental picture of those children's faces. It made those many hours worthwhile. He endured the ordeal for the joy-benefits.)

The benefits of Jesus' "enduring" outweighed the cost of the cross-
There it is! The whole essence of Christendom is founded on this principle.
Hebrews 10:32-33 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;
Endurance has its reward: which is ultimate joy and one's entering the company of those who experience Christ on a more profound level than this age knows.
Hebrews 10:34
For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.
There is a connection between "enduring" and "joy."
2 Timothy 2:10-12
Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
Jesus knew both the cross and the reigning were in sequential order. As He drew near the cross, He knew the time to return home was near. "Closer Home" is a wondrous portent. Mighty power joined forces in Him just after His endure-ment. Saints still have difficulty ingesting the passage in Ephesians 1:19-20, which says:
(That you may know :) what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places
(Author's Note: Yes, that mighty power works in me also! It causes joy to well up. It is supernatural in origin and so is my joy! It causes me to shout and speak in tongues and do all the excesses for which the modern Pentecostals look in suspect. Much joy wells inside causing me to explode into song and find expression in prophetic utterance.)

Think of it:
·Jesus envisioned an empty seat in the throne room, "For the joy He endured the cross."

·Jesus thought of the multitudes born in to His Father's kingdom, "For the joy He endured the cross."

·Jesus anticipated His bride--"for the joy He endured the cross."
What remains for the people of God is to "endure for the (joy) benefits set before them!"

The simplest of word study reveals that "chara (noun form)," translated as "joy," in the focal passage (Hebrews 12) means, "benefit." However, one of the chief translations of joy is, "the circumstances attending cooperation in the authority of the Lord." No one outside the will of God can participate.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, and ultimately His death on the cross, He did so with joy, for He was "cooperating with the authority of the Lord." He was a lamb "slain before the foundation of the world." That is why diverse temptations and awesome tribulations caused Paul to say, "Count it all joy!"

Gladness (noun) is another form of this same Greek word, "chara." Combined with a cognate word, "euphrosune," from which the English word, Euphoria, comes, it gives vent to the shouting saint who is "exhibitionally" uninhibited. Go ahead and shout, Hallelujah!

(Author's Note: There was a man who would call me from time to time and give a praise report. This man was so full of the joy of the Lord that "Hallelujah" would be interjected in every sentence. When he died, the hallelujah's, I am sure, did not. I miss him.)
1 Thessalonians 2:19-3:1
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.
There is, however, a verb form of "Joy" in the Bible (chairo), as well. One must keep in mind that JOY is two sides of the same coin. One is the verb side: "We joy." "We rejoice." "I joy." There is also a companion word "oninemi" meaning: "to benefit, profit, to derive benefit"--such as: "let me have joy."
Philemon 20
Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.
(Dear Readers, Jesus derived benefit from "the joy set before Him." Somehow we all must understand this principle.)

JOY is a benediction. Yes it is! Jude closed his one page power message showing the path to non-participation in future wrath. In His benediction, he included Joy, which is the reigning element of heaven.
Jude 24-25
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
This is my benediction for you as well. Don't let anyone steal your joy!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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