Proverbs 31:25 NLT “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”
I want a life of joy and laughter but in today’s day and age, that seems next to impossible. Wars, plagues, hunger, elections, economic worries, and housecleaning all occupy our lives and minds and put us in a bad mood. I would love to be able to laugh without fear of the future, but I find it almost impossible to laugh when my mind is filled with the “what ifs” that life throws my way every day.
Life is so complicated now; things are now moving at “Mach” speed. News didn’t travel this fast in my parents’ generation. I think that was somehow a blessing. The news wasn’t broadcast all day long every day; you could watch the morning and evening news and that was about it. If something happened in the middle of the day, it rarely made the radio waves unless it was an absolute disaster.
There’s always a new problem, a new issue, a new hashtag, a new saying, a new trend, a new fashion, and then we find ourselves running to catch up and keep up. Sometimes we run after these new trends not knowing if what is being advertised is good for us or not. Some of those trends aren’t new ones, just old ones wrapped up in different paper.
Romans 14:23 “…everything that does not come from faith is sin.” This verse is the cornerstone of all things when it comes to matters of trend and faith. If we have no conviction in an area – then maybe we need to ask ourselves why we have no conviction, why does it not matter? Or why does it, in some cases, matter too much? Too many times we get offended in our dealings with people without understanding why we are offended; we’re simply flowing with the trends of the crowd. Often, these trends are “pushing the envelope” to the very edge of what is acceptable, making us push the boundaries of our faith beyond what we had originally imagined.
1 Cor. 6:12 MSG “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.”
If what we are doing or thinking enslaves us, if the trends of the day hold us back from living out our faith and it dictates our thoughts, budgets, and lifestyle – then we have become enslaved by it.
1 Cor. 10:23,24 MSG Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.”
Maybe we would do well to ask ourselves what are we after in our walk with the Lord? What do we want? Do we live life in such a way to avoid confrontation with the outside world? Is this why we are so addicted to social media and the internet? Avoiding confrontation is easier than deliverance – because freedom and deliverance is never easy and true discipleship is more than a 6-month journey. It is the walk of a lifetime.
In this day and age of performance driven society has Christianity turned into an experience instead of an encounter with God? Is what we want to be accepted and embraced in society? If so, then we need to be non-confrontational and only offer a feel good message not just from the pulpit but also from our lives. Is this what we want from our walk with God or is there more? Is this what God wants for us?
In Acts 17 when Paul was at Athens, he spent time studying the people, (vs. 23 “for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship…”). He later appealed to them through what he learned about them. This is why media is valuable today. This is why learning the “language” of the people of today is necessary. If they need a cup of coffee after church then get one, if they need to “chill” and “hang out” and “connect” or be “messaged” in order to understand the Gospel then I believe Jesus is the greatest social networker in all the universe. He was relevant.
Being relevant by definition means connection with the subject at issue. What is the subject at issue here? Jesus and getting people connected with Him. This is called fulfilling the “Great Commission.” However, if we lose our connection to this one issue by trying to appeal to the masses, we become irrelevant no matter how many bells and whistles we tie around our necks.
Yes, we can be relevant and bring people to a place of encounter with God as long as we don’t abandon our main role of transforming souls into the Kingdom of God. It’s easy for our message to fade away into oblivion if we ourselves begin to water down the Kingdom in us. Why would we rob ourselves and this generation of really encountering God for the sake of popular opinion? Are we allowing the importance of being current and relevant crowd out the Kingdom within us?
It is God’s goodness that leads men to repentance (Rom 2:4) not our anger or most persuasive arguments. God loves this world and so desires to see them come to Him. It’s just the messiness of redemption that turns us off – it’s easier to be either too rigid or too complacent than deal with the life issues that people face.
It’s easy to say, “Stop drinking” to the alcoholic.
It’s easy to say to the drug addict, “Stop doing drugs.”
It’s easy to say to the hurting family, “Get it together.”
It’s hard to walk those people through their issues. Rather leave them alone than confront them – it’s too hard, we reason.
I want the life that I live to create an atmosphere of God’s love around those who I come in touch with daily. What I do, what I say, and how I present myself will either speak conviction or compromise, rejection or acceptance.
Maybe the real relevance we should look for is being prepared to be the bride of Christ and having a glimpse of God and Who He is. Any laughing I do outside of the revelation of Who God is won’t bring me any freedom. It will be that false laughter – an insecure laughter of trying to just fit in with this world.
I want real laughter that will see me through the lies that this world throws at me. What’s real? He loves me and He loves you, warts and all!
James 4:7-10 MSG “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and He’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”
It’s time to really laugh the laugh of faith in a world that is void of the joy that knowing what it means to really fit in with a Father Who loves them more than they could possibly imagine – then and only then will we begin to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Who wants part of something that is void of laughter? The world has that already – so, it’s time to laugh.