Saturday, December 8, 2018

Happy Is Okay - Martin Wiles

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Psalm 96:1 NLT

“Many of you walk around, looking as if you’ve been baptized in pickle juice.”

Dad wasn’t always the most positive person when he preached. The above statement evidenced his tendency to major on the negative. I suppose in his many years of ministry, he had witnessed believers who looked as if it Christianity brought misery. Believers consumed with the don’ts more so than the dos. Christians who thought frowns demonstrated signs of holiness.
Somewhat like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. When I read Jesus’ denunciations of them for their hypocritical actions and attitudes, I can’t imagine men who walked around smiling. Frowns and piety were synonyms in their book.

Like Dad, I’ve known quite a few pickle-faced believers—myself included at times. People who seemed to struggle with being a Christian. If following Christ was such a chore, I wondered why they bothered. Rarely did a smile cross their lips at church—or anywhere else I saw them.

Somehow, I don’t picture the psalmist—or Jesus—as men who sauntered around with frowns on their faces. Although I’ve seen it done, singing while frowning seems as if it should be mutually exclusive. How can praise and sadness inhabit the same body at the same time? Not only did the psalmist display joy, but he also wanted the entire world to join him.

I’ve been a Christian for forty-eight years, circulated around many believers, seen Christianity displayed in various ways, and have concluded believers can be happy. In fact, I believe God wants us that way. Sinful living may appear enjoyable—and Satan constantly proposes that idea—but I can live a holy lifestyle and still have fun. I’ve tried it—and it works.

Sin and fun may seem like normal bedfellows, but they are opposites. Jesus enjoyed life. He loved a good party, He loved laughing, and He enjoyed the company of good—and not so good—folks. A fact that drove the pickled-faced religious leaders crazy. But He never sinned while enjoying Himself.

God created us for a relationship with Him—and not a somber one. Putting our eyes on others’ needs instead of our own creates joy. Relishing time spent with Christ through spiritual disciplines gives a base for our joy. And knowing God controls our lives and has a heavenly home waiting for us sustains it.

Don’t worry; be happy. Happy is okay.

Prayer: Father, create in us a spirit of joy so others can see true happiness is only found in a relationship with You. 

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