If you were describing the church as a car, would you say it was a hearse or a limo? Unfortunately, it seems I have seen more hearses go to church than limousines. Many people have the impression that the Christian faith is drab and dreary. When I look at the life of Jesus, I see something totally different. He celebrated life. He went to feasts, parties, and banquets. He told stories about them to illustrate what living for God was like. Your life should be a continual party:
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15)
People during Jesus’ day criticized Him for having too good of a time. They complained about John the Baptizer, too, though, saying he was too serious. So who was right? Jesus defended John (Matthew 11:16-18). Should we follow John with a morose, sorrowful religion? Remember he said, “I must decrease so that He can increase” (John 3:30).
Repentance precedes rejoicing
If you are not enjoying your walk with God, it may be because you are not walking with Him. The starting place of the Christian faith is repentance. John preceded Jesus just as your weeping must come before your feasting. Even Jesus, before He attended parties and shindigs, spent His time in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
Some never turn from their sins yet claim to be Christians. Other build their whole faith on repentance only. This is the hearse, which is supposed to haul off our sins. Instead, they drive it around continually, saying, “I’m just a sinner.”
You cannot dance while straddling a fence—especially a barbed-wire one. If you are trying to live for God yet live in sin, too, you will never enjoy your faith. You either dance for the devil and add sorrow to sorrow, or you dance for God with joy in your heart and a spring in your step everywhere you go.
Legalistic mindsets kill your joy
If you live under the oppression of rules, you will not enjoy your faith. When the people of Israel heard Ezra read the law, they began weeping and mourning. This was not the purpose of a faith in God. After their repentance, Ezra commanded them to celebrate. It was God’s will to throw a party.
Pick one of the following that describe your walk with God:
“Being cheerful keeps you healthy.
It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.” (Proverbs 17:22, GNB)
If you think living for God is just a list of rules to get to heaven, you will never experience the life Jesus came to give.
Forgiveness brings the feast
Here’s one more thing that could be holding you back. It is huge. We all struggle with it: forgiveness.
Ten men and their families were not feasting—they were starving. Jealousy and unforgiveness were eating these grudge-holders like battery acid. Hundreds of miles away, another man was feasting. He was throwing parties. The famine and drought was not affecting him at all. He was enjoying life.
Finally, the famine-struck guys had to pack up their hearse and come crawling to their feasting brother. Joseph had been kicking it in his limo since they threw him out of the family almost 20 years before. You are not a victim of what has happened to you. You choose to respond to circumstances in your life with a feast or famine.
Which have you been choosing?