Dear forever Family, I want to begin by stating the conclusion of this article first… Christians need more joy! Now that I have that off my chest, let me explain why I felt the need to shout it!
Cleveland Browns fans have suffered through 20 horrible seasons. Over the past year, their fortunes have turned for the better. This week, the team made a trade for Odell Beckham Jr., one of the top players in the NFL. Over the past week, I have read numerous headlines all but crowning the 2019-20 Browns as the soon and coming Super Bowl champs! The euphoria of the locals here knows no bounds! Here is an excerpt from Sports Illustrated magazine:
“One Browns fan got a little too excited about his team’s trade for Odell Beckham Jr. Robert Stewart, a 17-year-old from the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, celebrated the news of the deal so exuberantly on Tuesday night that one of his neighbors called the police. ‘I’m calling because there’s someone out in front of our house,’ Corita Jackson said in a 911 call. ‘We just drove home and he’s yelling and screaming and, like, flailing his arms. I don’t want to get my kids out of the car yet because I don’t know what is going on.’” – source
My first thought upon hearing this was:
“Someone somewhere should be calling 911 every single day to report the gyrations of rejoicing Christians overwhelmed by the thrill of their eternal rewards and the imminency of their appearing!”
What is it exactly that we believers have to rejoice about? Well, let’s see…
What about the soon-to-be fulfillment of God’s promises to give us?
Eternal deliverance from the fires of hell which we deserve!
Eternal fellowship with Christ!
Eternal citizenship in Heaven!
Eternal reunion with our loved ones who have gone before!
Eternal health and security!
Eternal strength, energy and vitality!
Eternal freedom from pain, want and fear!
Eternal sinlessness and purity in word, deed, thought or imagination!
Eternal clarity and truth in word and deed, thought and imagination!
Eternal wealth and prosperity!
Eternal fellowship with the saints of the ages!
Eternal deliverance from all labor representing the consequence of the Fall!
Eternal pleasure in its place! (Psalm 16:11)
Eternal fulfillment of all of our God-given potential!
Eternal fulfillment of all of our ministerial potential in the Millennial Reign!
Eternal fulfillment of all of the promises of God which include more than we could ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)
Judging by the last declaration above, the list may be as tall as the 1,400-mile-high walls of the heavenly city of “New Jerusalem”! Now, let it be said that I am the first believer to need to read this list over every morning. Too often, I find myself feeling glum about some fear or guilt, and my countenance shows it. I recently heard one radio teacher speak about the importance of the witness of our daily joy; and he concluded by saying, “We need to send a missionary to our face!” I felt so personally convicted, I almost drove off the road! But brothers and sisters, do any of you ever find yourself struggling in this same way?
As Paul wrote, “this ought not to be so!”
Why is our evidence of joy so important? Here are just 4 biblical reasons:
1 – Joy is the Christian’s strength!
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
2 – Jesus intended us to possess it and exhibit it!
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
“I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy” (John 17:13).
3 – Joy in today’s dark world is a greater witness than it has ever been before! The world is attracted to the fruit of the Spirit, but they cannot duplicate it!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Gal. 5:22).
4 – Our redemption draweth nigh! We only have a short while to show this unique evidence of the work of God in our lives. Joy contrasts gloriously with despair. Let us work while “it is still day”!
“Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness” (Psalm 96:13).
Robert Asher Mandel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are two links for further reading and study on this subject:
“10 Reasons Joy Brings Christ to Our Culture”
“What Does ‘the Joy of the Lord is My Strength’ Mean in the Bible