Randy Alcorn wonders why Christians seem so unhappy, and offers thoughts on why this should not be so.
There seem to be a lot of outraged Christians around, and they seem to be outraged in mirror to the culture of outrage that permeates public discourse.
…I see too many long-faced Christians who seem continuously angry, disillusioned, and defensive over politics and the infringement of their rights.
Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva (1567–1622), said, “I cannot understand why those who have given themselves up to God and his goodness are not always cheerful; for what possible happiness can be equal to that? No accidents or imperfections which may happen ought to have power to trouble them, or to hinder their looking upward.”[iv]
One explanation for our cheerlessness is simple: many of God’s people don’t believe that the Christ we serve is cheerful.
If we see God as happy, suddenly the command for us to “find your joy in him at all times” (Philippians 4:4, Phillips) makes sense. God is saying, in essence, “Be as I am.” Paralleling “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16, NIV), the answer to the question “Why should God’s children be happy?” is “Because our Father is happy.”
By studying and understanding what Scripture says about God’s happiness and ours, and letting those truths spill over into our lives, I believe we can reverse this trend. Then, even when we’re dealing with tough issues, both personally and in our culture, we can do so with a smile, and a sense of peace and pleasure in Christ. That doesn’t mean we back away from clearly sharing God’s revealed words, but it does mean that we do it with a spirit of grace and truth, seeking to be like Jesus (John 1:14).
Joy and laughter should be the church’s norm, not the exception.
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