An overlooked source of power. Ever notice that female dating profiles often say that they want a man with a sense of humor. What they mean is someone who can make them laugh. I’ve never seen a female profile that desires a man with big biceps, but, guess what the men are doing? Studying comedy? No, upsizing their biceps in the gym. Likewise, Christians have overlooked the power of joy!
The Bible says, “The JOY OF THE LORD is your STRENGTH”. Christ said, “These words I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full.” (JN 15:11) Wow! Our strength is in our joy! Don’t remember hearing a sermon on that.
Everywhere Christ went he brought joy. The angels were singing their hearts out when he was born, “Good tidings of great joy…” He had a magnetic personality; he’d say, “Follow me”, and people ran off and followed him. He rode into Jerusalem intentionally on a donkey and the crowds went wildly bananas, as if he were a rock star. In the way people nowadays yell for their favorite team, they screamed, “Hosanna!” The blind, seriously ill, and lame laughed and got excited with joy when he healed them. It was like the 23rd Psalm, “He restores my soul.”
He was joyful while not ignoring the cruel realities and tensions of the times. He talked about the social problems of his day, for instance, his parable about the lazy judge, and the one about the poverty and suffering of Lazarus. And how about the dying man in the ditch who was robbed and ignored, until a despised Samaritan found him? He bluntly told the rich, “Woe to you that are rich!” And he called those who were drunk with religious power “a brood of snakes.” Likewise, a song spoofing religious arrogance: “I’m in the Spirit now, I’m holier than thou…” had me in stitches. On the flip side, when they called him a wino, he laughed it off. His times were cruel and full of despair and tension, but he told the people, “Be of good cheer…I have overcome the world.” He said his mission was to liberate us, and further, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”
Have we been given a bogus picture of Christ and his kingdom? He said the kingdom of God was “joy in the Holy Spirit.” And that this kingdom of joy was within us. That lines up with what the Word says God will give to a good man; do you already know what he gives? It says He gives wisdom, knowledge and joy. How comical that so many people rate how spiritual you are by how serious you look! Meanwhile the spiritual man is babbling with delight at all the things of God which are full of glory! Similar to how the trees praise the Lord.
One final thought. The world has been grabbing every bizarre idea about Christ and the Bible that comes along. Many of these are patently bogus such as the secret Gospel of Mark which is a modern forgery. Meanwhile the mass media ignore things like the discovery of part of a scroll of the genuine Gospel of Mark from Cave 7 at Qumran which dates to 50 A.D. in a cave sealed in 68 A.D. Christ, the most significant man in history, used to be taught about in public schools, and many kids went to church. Those were the days my friend. So where are our young people to learn about Christ??? Without the joy of the Lord, all our young people are left with is inheriting a screwed-up, polluted, bankrupt world. No wonder so many of them are angry.