Hebrews 12:2, “For the joy set before him Jesus endured the cross.

The idea of crucifixion as the means to a joyful life is counterintuitive. Ask yourself:

• How can a life shaped by the cross, an instrument of suffering and shame, be the way to joy?
• Is the purpose of the cross not one of denial rather than indulgence?
• Can this be reconciled with enjoying earthly pleasure?

While it is true that the way of the cross is a way of self-denial, the cross is
a path of denial for the sake of true and lasting joy. This joy is found in God rather than the things of the world, but this doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about the physical realm.

God wants us to enjoy His creation, but He wants us to do so while recognizing that they are good gifts from Him. The mundane material of our ordinary lives matters to God. He is concerned with not only the so-called religious aspects of our lives, because the entire business of our lives as human beings in the world is part of God’s good creation.