On a recent visit to one of the local stores I ran into a woman who gave me pause concerning how Christians may respond to a life with Christ. While this lady’s outward demeanor was pleasant enough, when I asked her about being ready for the weekend, she replied that she was not thinking about the Super Bowl. I expressed I was not referring to that, but simply to the time of enjoyment at being free from job and week day responsibilities. She then said, well, I leave that stuff up to the young people. At a deep level within, I began to feel, is this what Christian living is all about, must we renounce the energy and animation of life, where has the joy gone in Christ?
Certainly, this woman does not represent the experience of the presence of Christian joy in the entire body of Christ. However, this meeting caused me to wonder if there are many others who, while expressing joy openly and outwardly, are inhibited, due to inner condemnation, from experiencing the joy of the Lord.
Every Christian ought to know that the finished work of Jesus has imparted a joy that the world can never give, and the world cannot take away. That joy is for our strength, providing a bulwark against all attack, opposition, and times of depression. When all appears to be lost, you should know you still have joy.
Paul placed emphasis on joyful exhortation in Philippians 4:6. ” Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice”. Do not allow anxiety or condemnation cause you to look back at your past and consider making ongoing retribution which prohibits from enjoying the freedom in Christ. This thing is of God; it is not your doing.
Your Christian walk should not reflect a reluctance for the wonderful experience of life, but should open you up to the great joy that it holds. Jude writes, ” Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy”. As I said, God is in this thing. If you trust Him, He will keep you from falling. Therefore, enjoy yourself. Don’t let nothing or nobody steal your joy!
L. Jerome Jones