This week I want to take a bit of a side-step from the usual – the darkness of the current world that surrounds us.
Just a short time ago, a close friend, of which happens to be a family member, came to the Lord. Needless to say, my wife and I were joyous over the occasion. – Because they live a bit too far away to attend the same church we do, we all decided to seek out a church closer to their home.
Always an interesting process, we visited several with mixed reviews — too large — too small — too quiet — unfriendly — nut cases — most of you know the drill.
And then one Sunday morning we walked into an unexpected surprise — a room full of people that were happy and friendly. – To quote myself, I said that they seemed “ridiculously joyful”. – Needless to say, I was immediately suspicious. – What was their motive? What did they want from us? – Simply, there had to be a reason for all this senseless happiness.
After the service was over, the four of us left, went and found something to eat, and began the usual post-service critique. – It was unanimous! While we all felt a bit uneasy about all this exuberance — this over-the-top display of warmth and sincerity — we decided we needed to go back one more time to see if it was either a fluke or if it was genuine.
The next Sunday was no different. These people were completely the same as the week before. – And although I was still suspicious, it began to dawn on me that what they had was missing in my life. — What they had was a joyfulness about our Savior Jesus Christ and what it meant to serve Him.
Ultimately, what I realized was that in my current “walk”, people couldn’t tell me apart from the world. — But these people? — You bet there was a difference! — And the minute I realized it was genuine, I wanted what they had – I wanted and needed to get back what I’d lost in my walk.
John 16:22 says”…I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” – I needed to re-focus on the fact that Jesus is coming back and I needed to rejoice in this! In walking this way, no one can, or will take that joy away.
These wonderful people just reminded me of what I had lost along the way. They were and are living as Christ wants and desires us to.
When we look at the world around us today, it’s no wonder people are depressed and feeling hopeless. In fact, just take a quick look at T.V. ads. It seems like half of them are pushing various brands of anti-depressants upon the populace. — And I just saw a new one that suggests taking another anti-depressant to help balance the original one — unbelievable! Now we are masking our emotions with layers of drugs.
Can you as a Christian imagine what it must be like to live in this world today without the loving hope of Jesus? – But even those of us who do know Jesus can fall into these joyless traps that the enemy sets all around us. – I know that I’d lost my joy and hadn’t even realized it until I came into contact with brothers and sisters who were joyous- who hadn’t forgotten the message of their savior.
As a living testimony to the “condition” of these people, one morning I asked this little, older lady why she always seemed so happy and joyous. Without hesitation, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “I didn’t think it was optional.”
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Many of us in today’s world face difficulties of various kinds and in many different forms. I know that in my studies of prophecy, at times it seems difficult because of what is going to take place as we approach the final days of “The times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). – Even Daniel Languished in emotional distress because of what he saw in the future concerning his people. but James 1:2 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
We must always remember that no matter what is happening in our lives, it is only to strengthen us for the tasks at hand and that God is always in control. I Thessalonians 5:16 says it best — “Be joyful always.”
Let’s always remember the bright side. Jesus is coming soon and He will reign for 1,000 years here on Earth (Revelation 20), and then will create a new Heaven and Earth that will last for eternity (Revelation 21).
In the meantime, what are we to do? – First, take a look at your own walk. — If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
I can’t tell you how much more I’m loving my walk with the Lord since I re-discovered the joy. — If you don’t have it – if those around you don’t have it — then change it, either by making a difference where you are, or going to another place where it is.
NOTE: If you want to know where I go, just e-mail me and I’ll be happy to share it with you.
I will close with a piece of commentary I’ve used several times in the past. It sums it all up quite well:
“We are the Light in the Darkness”
The evening news is a commentary of the darkness of our world. It is a graphic visualization of the absence of God in many places in our communities —- so —- what is the real problem? It is not just the presence of darkness — it is also the absence of light. — We can pierce the darkness in the Name of Jesus!! — Light exposes darkness and light symbolizes the presence of God. – Light represents all that is good! — We are the light!!
Until next time,