Jesus and all of his students have said many times that the Christian life is joy and peace and rest. It is full of suffering and difficulty, but because of the clear vision of what we will become and the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, following Christ is joy even in the worst suffering. Jesus did not want to die on a cross. He did not enjoy the experience itself. But he did it out of pure joy. Joy over what would happen through his suffering.
But…Jesus and his students were able to find joy and peace in suffering because they went all the way. They made it the great object of their lives to keep the truth strongly before their minds and to become constantly more like God, their Father. They made a leap. They gave up their own lives, every day, in favor of the life of Christ. The experience of being a Christian is quite different if we go halfway.
Consider some of the analogies the Bible uses. Becoming a Christian is called a movement from darkness to light. If you grew up in the dark it would be painful to come into the light. After a while you would get used to the light and it would be infinitely better than living in the dark. But what if you only came a little bit into the light and then retreated from the pain? It would be painful over and over again. You would never reach the joy of being in the light.
The Bible calls becoming a Christian the creation of a new person in you. It says the new person being created is at war with your old self. The new person is true life and peace. But what if you only go partway and then stop? Part of you will love the light and part the dark. You will be literally at war with yourself. What will your life be like then?
Or again the Bible calls becoming a Christian a new birth. Babies are safe in the womb for a time, as long as they don’t stay too long. They are safe once they are fully born. But can you be halfway born? A baby halfway born will suffer and die quickly if the situation is not corrected.
It is just like this with the Christian life. We must go all the way or we will never know the joy it brings. God will allow suffering to come into our lives. These ‘bad things’ are allowed to help make us into new people like Christ on the inside. But if we do not see that strongly enough and why it is very much worth the cost, we will think God has abandoned us or hates us.
Lay down your self and push through to the joy of Christ.