Friday, January 4, 2013

Where Is Our Joy?

A friend of mine asked this today: 

"Why aren't Christians happy? We have the greatest news wrapped in the greatest savior who made the greatest sacrifice so we could have a great purpose, a great hope, and a great Father. WHERE IS THE JOY?"

It was this last question that stuck out at me. Where is our joy? If you look at the facts, we have everything. No, our lives are not perfect. But we aren't starving. We have roofs over our head, clothes on our body, shoes on our feet. We just came out of a season of giving, of joy, of celebration because our savior was born. 

Where is our joy?

Have we forgotten that we are sinners, born in sin, and that we deserve to die? But not just die, have we forgotten that we deserve eternal separation from love, from hope, from peace, from God in Hell? Have we forgotten that God came to us in human form? That He took on our pain, our suffering, our failures, our shame... He took on all of the sin and evil in this world and put it to death by dying for us? Have we forgotten that God died the most shameful and painful death in order that we may live forever with Him? Have we forgotten that Jesus conquered death? That we will live with God forever? Have we forgotten that we are children of the King Most High? That we are loved? 

Where is our joy? 

We dare to ask that question. 

Why, when we have everything, why are do we not have joy? 

It's because we have forgotten. 

We have forgotten that loving God, that having a relationship with Him, is radical. This is not normal. It is not normal to be unconditionally loved by the Creator of the Universe. It's not normal for God to take on human flesh and die for our sins. It's not normal for God to chase us while we continually fail and don't care about it. 

Where is our joy?

Our joy is at the cross. We left it there. We took the comfort and relief and love that comes from knowing that we are beloved children of the God Most High. We went to church. We read the Bible. We prayed. We did what we were supposed to do.

Where is our joy?

We have made God so second-nature. We forget how radical His love truly is. We forget that God is a big deal. Francis Chan, the author of Crazy Love, says it best: 

“The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians. The crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have an inaccurate view of
God. We see Him as a benevolent Being who is satisfied when people manage to fit Him into their lives in some small way. We forget that God never had an identity crisis. He knows that He’s great and deserves to be the center of our lives.” 

Do you know how crazy God's love is? Is God at the center of your life? Are you going to Him daily, drinking deeply of His hope and joy, and loving Him fully?

Or have you forgotten how radical God really is? 

Where is our joy?

In the Creator.
Not in the creation. 
Not in this world. 

Our joy lies in the radical love of God. 
In a love that cannot be made normal because there is nothing normal about it.
Our joy is in the cross.