Persistence in Prayer
What is Joy from a biblical perspective? In Hebrews 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul provides important insight into this subject.
In verse 1, he refers to those cited in Hebrews 11 as examples of patience in running the race set before God’s people. He follows up in verse 2, with the example of Jesus Christ, who for the joy set before Him, endured suffering and being crucified.
The “setting before” is the same in both and strongly suggests God’s direct involvement in both the race we are required to run and the joy that we will experience when we finish it. Joy, in this context, is future looking and directly connected with the resurrection and immortality.
Biblically, joy is not limited to human emotions and physical happiness attainable in this life. The joy Paul refers to is something tangible that rest on God’s promises, something we can have great confidence in, and a perspective that allows us to productively deal with the variety of trials and suffering we endure in this life. The Greek word translated joy, can mean “cheerfulness, calm delight, and gladness”.
In other words, in dealing with the various trials of life, we may not be very happy, but we can develop a calm delight in God’s promises and gladness in understanding that life is a training ground, preparing us for the first resurrection. In the midst of trial, we can see the spiritual reality set before us through the transcending quality of joy.