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Provoke&Inspire

Monday, 22 June 2020 23:11

Joy Beckons Me to the Narrow Road

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The world is broken, and it feels overwhelming. I know God wants to use my life to alleviate suffering and preach the Gospel. He calls me to follow Him no matter the cost. 

There are days when the weight of this challenge overwhelms me. The problems are immense and I am so weak - what difference can I possibly make? 

 

In moments like this, I am reminded that Jesus endured the Cross, not out of obligation or duty, but “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). This is remarkable. I can understand heroism as a motivation for laying down his life - but joy? 

 

Yet comprehending this changes everything, because it gives me critical insight into the proper motivation for the Christian life. The more I walk with God, the more I realize that nothing but joy can beckon me to the narrow road, and only joy can keep me there. 

 

Our world often mistakes joy for happiness, which is a feeling and is mainly dependent on circumstances. If happiness is my goal, I avoid pain and discomfort at all costs. 

 

But joy is different. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit - defiant in the face of suffering. Joy is not the absence of difficulty, but the presence of a Person. 

 

Joy is evidence of intimacy with Jesus. When I understand who God is, that He is for me, not against me, that there is nothing I can do to separate myself from His love, and that in Him, I have an incorruptible inheritance, then I can endure anything He asks of me because I know He is good and worthy of my trust. 

 

When I have experienced the deep significance that comes from knowing and obeying Jesus, then I see the world for what it is, and its promises are exposed as hollow and unfulfilling. 

 

Jesus was able to endure the Cross because He knew that true joy, and real significance, awaited Him. His joy didn’t mitigate the suffering, but it gave Him hope beyond it. 

Our faith is one of many paradoxes. In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus says, “I will give you rest,” but He follows that immediately with “take my yoke.” So what is it - rest or work? 

 

The truth is that it’s both. We are called to work, fight, struggle, and overcome, but all with the lightness and rest of knowing that God is in control, that He fights for us, and that we prevail in His strength - not ours. 

 

God wants to use your life to make a difference in this chaotic world, but He will not call you out of duty or guilt. Instead, He will invite you to a difficult path. It will not be easy, but it will be deeper and more fulfilling than you could ever imagine.  

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.
Instagram: @nzbenpierce
Twitter: @benalanpierce

www.steiger.org/benpierce

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