Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Too Sour to be a Saint?
Every one of us wants to have joy. In 25 years of ministry I haven't run into a person who desires to be joy-less. Such a grouch would be too sour to be a saint!
"That's easy for you to say, Pastor, 'cause everything is so perfect in your life!"
Well, I am blessed. But blessing is a spiritual thing- not a physical thing. In other words, just because I am "blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus..." (Eph 1.3) doesn't mean that my boat doesn't get rocked by the waves of life. In fact, the mere fact that I have those spiritual blessings is cause for demonic attack! My adversary doesn't want me to translate the spiritual blessing into trust , contentment, and joy.
James 1.2 tells me to think of my trials and temptations as causes of celebratory joy. The only way I can think of doing that is by focusing my mind on the eternal strengths that I am gaining during this difficult time of temptation and trial. He guarantees in the following verses that perseverance, maturity, and wisdom are developing in me during the tough times. Shouldn't we be acting out our joy?
I recall a person signing on for a position as an usher in the church. When I refused his service in this capacity he came to me quite angry. I explained to him that the ushers face is the first that most people see in the church and that I hadn't seen a smile on his face for many months. "Really? he asked," ... I guess your right." Once I pointed out to him that his lack of a smile was a sign that he had no inner joy he was brought to the point of repentance. Yes, repentance. When we allow our joy to be stolen by the adversary of our souls we have ignored the counsel of scripture (rejoice, again I say...) and have determined to live in our own way.
I am glad to report his service was "with a smile" for many years after that. So how about you... are you too sour to be a saint? Have you learned to experience joy inspite of the many obstacles to it? Have you lifted up your countenance by lifting up your eyes and fixing them on the joys of salvation? Or is your joy dependant upon earthly circumstances?