So tonight, you should read this first.
I came across this blog because a friend shared a quote from it, and I was hooked. Not only does it totally speak the truth, but I think it offers some good challenges for us. Here are my favorite parts:
~ “Does the joy of Christ echo forth from your being not just on Sunday, but on the average Tuesday or the mundane Thursday? Do you wake up counting your problems or your blessings? Are you ruled by worldly stress or heavenly peace?” — This was so challenging to me! I think it’s really hard to remember, through the stress and routine of everyday life, to focus on being a good Christian. A song that the music director at my church growing up used constantly sing was “They Will Know We Are Christians,” and one of the verses reads “Love is patient, love is kind, never boasts, not full of pride, always hopes, always trusts, the evidence of Christ is us; and they will know we are Christians by our love.” How often do we actually live this out? As much as I try, there are days where I testify to the love of God being patient, but I fail to be patient in my own life. I constantly tell people about how putting all of your trust in God will set you free, yet I still have chains attached to my own wrists. And unfortunately, going back to the original quote, there are definitely a lot of days where I count my problems that I’m going to face over the course of that day, rather than being thankful to God for the amazing blessings in my life.
~ The next part that I think is significant is that the writer doesn’t call us “to be an amateur stand-up comedian to be an effective evangelist to other college students,” but there is a point here. It’s great if we have the joy of Christ, but do the people around us know where that joy comes from? If we are happy and share love with others, there is obviously good in that. Yet if we keep the reason for that secret, then we are losing chances to evangelize. As the post explains, “Too many modern Christians fail to stand up or to stand out. We are called to live differently, are we not?”
~ And as the quote reads from the title, “the only reason to take this life too seriously is if it’s your only one.” The topic of death is not something that dominates “dinner table conversation,” as my Mom would say, but it is reality. The magnificent truth that Christians should remember is that we are promised a life after this one – and its goodness is far beyond our wildest dreams could imagine. How lucky are we!
~ The first point of the blog post is perhaps my favorite. The author ponders the question of what Jesus’ laugh sounded like. “Was it a deep, bellowing laugh that caused His whole body to shake? Did He often laugh so hard that He cried? I’m willing to bed that He had a contagious laugh – that once He got going, everyone within an earshot began laughing too. The second person of the Trinity, so utterly filled the joy of the Holy Spirit, must have had a contagious laugh and a unique charisma, to be sure.” What a beautiful thought, right? I know that for me, I often get so detached from the personal connection to Jesus that I never think about things like this! Though I focus on the intercession of the Holy Spirit to connect to Jesus, the idea of His humanity is often hard to see or imagine.
The last part of the blog is a good spot to end on, because it ends with a challenge (which is what I like to end on as well). “If you want to be effective evangelists to college students in this modern age, the joy of The Lord MUST be your source of daily strength.”
In this coming week, I know I am going to try and focus on the joy of The Lord in my daily life, even if it just means waking up and focusing on blessings first before thinking about the challenges ahead. Essentially, I pray that I can begin each day with the joyful prospect of the inevitable highs rather than the fear of the possible lows.
Verse for the night: “For the sake of his own great name The Lord will not abandon his people, since The Lord himself chose to make you his people.” – 1 Samuel 12:22
We are his people, we are chosen, and we should be joyous. Amen, right?