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Friday, March 23, 2018

There's a Serious Problem with Christians

Why so serious? Why so many pickle faces? Why such negativity? Why discuss all the junk in the world: sadness, violence, and injustice? Why be so serious in the guise of piety?

Maybe it’s just me, but the more I see how Christians act, talk, and watch their facial expressions, I get the feeling they’re sad. Even online, they’re picking fights and giving the impression that being a Christian is miserable and cheerless. Their talk is about how bad everything is. Their faces look like dried prunes. They don’t laugh, and they certainly don’t rejoice.

Whatever happened to smiling? Besides frowns being unpleasant to look at, they're the wrong picture! A Christian has every reason to praise.

For one thing, look Who’s his God:
  • Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8 and repeated three more times in this Psalm).
  • God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5b).
  • And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).

God commands joy—and provides it.
  • Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).
  • Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
  • 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 (Jude 1:24).

God takes pleasure in people who praise Him and conduct themselves with joy.
  • I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High (Psalm 9:2).
  • Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power (Psalm 21:13).
  • When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday (Psalm 42:4).
  • Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23).

A Christian with a smile on his face will attract others. A Christian who shows love and genuine joy will reach others. A Christian who praises—even when circumstances are far from ideal—will be joyous in his own soul. And, praise edifies (builds up) other Christians.

I am fully aware the world isn’t a pretty place. It never has been! Jesus said, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Do you know what the first part of the same verse says? These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace (John 16:33). Jesus offers peace. He also says be of good cheer.

A long time ago, piety seemed to mean prune faces. I don’t think those people ever understood the biblical concept of joy. Maybe they weren’t even born-again Christians and were tied to religious legalism. (That would certainly sap one’s joy!) But, maybe they were Christians with the wrong perspective—like many today.

If you eat garbage, your body won’t function as it should. If you feed yourself spiritual garbage, your heart won’t show joy. The nastiness will weigh down your spirit. So, maybe the problem is that Christians are feeding their souls wrongly. I’m not sure.

Whatever the root problem, Christians need a change of focus. Look to the Lord. Ask Him to provide your joy. Rejoice in Him—always—and recover your smiling face.

You’ll be happy, and people around you will be attracted to Jesus.

Let’s become joyful Christians.

(Jesus) Whom having not seen, ye love;
in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing,
ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:8-9)

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