“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
God has taken any number of bad raps throughout history. He has been labeled and ridiculed as being unfair, bizarre, foolish, preposterous and absurd. Yet, I reckon one the most unfair assumptions of God is that He is some sort of “comic killjoy” sitting up on His towering throne high above the heavens – throwing lightening bolts at us when we dare make mistakes, laugh or even giggle. Too many people think that God is anti-fun and look at the Bible as just one big rule book – where we have to be super religious, pious and totally bland and boring. Given all of that, the quality of life for the Christian must be bad, really bad.
Christians are often portrayed in print and film as joyless robots who have settled for a flavorless life. They promote the lie that an abundant life is out of reach. They trumpet the idea that Christians are all too happy to settle for less. Non-Christians see the Christian life as a kind of clearance table. Things on this table were discounted because they were not as good as the other stuff. So the Christian life is less, not more.
I could not disagree more. The Christian life is more, not less, and for any number of reasons.
First, there is God. None of the bad raps and labels given to God over the centuries has changed the fundamental fact that the gospel is that Christ has brought us home to God. “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18). Only in God can we have a home run life. This is not less than ideal – it is the ideal.
We see differently. Watching a football game in high definition for the first time was a whole new visual experience. When we become a Christian we see the world in light of God and experience His blessings in light of grace. Eyes formerly blinded by sin become illuminated by grace. 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 says, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News…. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” Seeing myself in God’s light is not a second rate life, it is true life.
Finally, what on this earth can compare to knowing, loving and becoming like Jesus? Our life as Christians is about growing more in our knowledge of and fellowship with Jesus. What joy to have a Savior who knows you intimately—all of your failings and foibles—and yet He loves you infinitely—even through your sin. That doesn’t sound like a killjoy God nor does it sound like a life that belongs on the clearance table.
- How do you see the Christian life being more? Less?
- What keeps the Christian life from being more?
- What can we do to ensure we never lose our awe of who God is and what He did for us?