Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Hmmmm. Does it make sense to order someone to be joyful?

Tonight our LIFEGroup will discuss chapter four of John Ortberg's excellent book, THE LIFE YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED. He reminds us that God is the most joyful Being in the universe and that Jesus desired and prayed that the full measure of His joy would be in us (John 15, 17). Paul twice commanded believers to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Even a cursory glance at Biblical references to joy (they are many!) will reveal that joy and sorrow are compatible, even essential in a broken world awaiting Jesus' return and promise to restore everylasting joy (Isaiah 35 et al).

Ortberg shockingly identifies joylessness as sin . . . one not often discussed or condemned. He gives practical suggestions for upping strategic celebration and the joy factor in our lives, including regularly setting aside a day for joy.

In the midst of often heart-crunching sadness, the reminder that "joy flows from a certain kind of thinking . . . exchatological thinking" was most helpful. Viewing "all events in light of the Resurrection and the ultimate triumph of the risen Christ" comprises "eschatological thinking."

Jesus endured the cross because of His own eschatological thinking (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

Sheldon Van Auken said, "The best evidence for Christianity is Christians, their joy, their certainty, and their completeness. And the best evidence against Christianity is Christians, when they are joyless and somber, self-righteous and smug, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths."

1 comment:

Suz said...

It is humbling for me to realize that though we give Him many reasons to be somber, joyless, disappointed and frustrated, He presents a perfect example of celebrating and finding joy in us.