Serious, Not Sour

Joy of the LordNothing is more serious than speaking about sin and the Lord’s offer of redemption to those who will believe the gospel. After all, the message of Christ crucified is the only hope of humanity. Equally so, nothing is more joyful than when a person surrenders to Christ and experiences the new birth in Jesus. That joy is above and beyond simple emotion as the heart of the believer is overwhelmed by God goodness and forgiveness.

Here is an observation from my experience of over 30 years of ministry.

Those who are serious about the gospel will also have a robust ability to laugh and experience joy! It is not an either/or reality. The most joyful men I have had the privilege to know where also the ones who were very serious about the truths of Scripture.

Society always seems to attempt to force believers into the false belief that seriousness about God and joy of life are mutually exclusive. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe this opinion is a result of what we see in many evangelical circles. Some believers seem to be serious and very sour. If they shared a laugh their face would crack because it has been hardened by the rigor mortis of sour depression. On the other side, false teachers pervert joyfulness as they present their caramel coated psychobabble and self-esteem propositions with bumper sticker slogans like “too blessed to be stressed.”

To every road there are two ditches! We must avoid both extremes. Genuine joy is contagious and godly soberness is convicting. Yes, we can be serious about the things of God without being sour. And we can be joyful in Christ without being flighty and shallow.

As we allow the Holy Spirit to constantly fill and lead us, we will not have to think about either/or, because His work will automatically overwhelm us with seriousness and joy. Our joy will be tempered with soberness and our soberness will be tempered with joy.

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