Be joyful always. -- I Thessalonians 5:16
Neitzche was the man who espoused the "God is Dead" theory. He once said of Christians, that "if you Christians want me to believe in your redeemer, you have got to look a lot more redeemed."
Allen Watts is the one who popularized Zen Buddhism in the West. He was also antagonistic of Christians and Christianity. He said in one of his books that the thing he detests so much about Christianity is that "it has a sheer genius for drabness and tends to suppress ever bright emotion."
It is not just the unbelievers who see the lack of joy in so many Christians. Even the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, alluded to the void of joy in many Christians when, during a sermon, he said, "When you speak of heaven, you should let your face become bright, happy, alive! But when you speak of hell, well... your ordinary face will do."
We are instructed to be joyful always. Yet sadly, there are many Christians who walk around looking as if they had just lost their best friend. Somehow what they know in their minds has not been transferred to their heart.
There was an Easterner who walked into a Western saloon and was amazed to see a dog sitting at a table playing poker with three men. The Easterner asked, "Can that dog really play cards?" One of the men answered, "Yeah, but he ain't much of a player. Whenever he gets a good hand he wags his tail."
When Christ is really Lord of our lives, our hearts should brim with joy that can't help but express itself through our words as well as our demeanor. Yet, unfortunately, Neitzche and Watt's criticisms have some merit to them.
The Scriptures clearly teaches that joy should be one of the distinguishing beauty marks of the believer. Kingdom people march to the beat of a different drum and clearly that different drum should throb with joy.
Without doubt the book of Philippians, which has as its theme "joy," is a divine GPS guiding us to a heart attitude of joy. This Sunday we resume our series entitled, "Outrageous Joy," a study of the book of Philippians. I hope you will join us as we continue this journey on the road to discovering outrageous joy!