If you’re repenting from sin, that’s all you’re doing: running from it.
Suddenly you have a lot of idle free time and you’re not sure what to do.
How about run back to that sin?
Because that’s what most people do. They don’t know what else to do.
I suppose we could create a Christian subculture ghetto marginalized to the fringes of the mainstream, complete with parties minus alcohol, music minus cursing, and T-shirts with “The Lord’s Gym” and “Faithbook” and “Holy-ster.”
We’ll call it reasonable fun. Within limits. Chaperones needed. BYOB: Bring Your Own Bible.
I know: We’re supposed to repent. Godly sorrow is nothing to joke about. Healing can hurt because it exposes wounds, confesses pain, needs work. The church takes in the grieved, anguished, desperate, lost, confused, angry, addicted, greedy. We should. We fire up the lazy, complacent, lethargic, and wasting. A lot of tears, a lot of holding, tons of loud prayer.
But God commands us to rejoice, dang it. He demands it. He tells us to tell our souls to Get Up. The Bible is somber in parts, of course. But a single thread explodes through its pages: joy, blessing, abundance, eternal rejoicing. At some point we must get there.
Jesus tapped the wine flow. I’m not interested in discussing alcohol. I’m just seeing the heart of the matter: He saved the best for last. We overcome our sin, our trials, the devil, the world — but we’re not simply getting reprieve and relief from ourselves. We’re made to run to someone greater. An unspeakable joy waiting to burst through our veins like so much fresh water in broken ground. He’s the wine, the well.
You, Christian, are allowed to be happy. I know there’s a difference between joy and happiness: you’ve heard that from every preacher in the universe. Certainly there’s false happiness, and many idolatrous morons chase after it like that’s the point of it all.
But I’m still wondering where we threw fun off the cliff. To allow happiness to be a “plague” because a few bad kids abuse it doesn’t make it all around evil. The detached bemusement that comes from the mature Christian — I don’t mean judging, hierarchy, superiority, religion — that sort of ticklish, secret excitement about knowing who’s the Boss is about as fun as it gets.
It’s a hard, cruel world sometimes. Intimacy with Jesus should be a joy. He himself is joy supremely. And it’s happy times with him. He’s our joy in the long haul, like an endless well, and He’s our happiness daily, like cool water over bruised hands.
Rejoice. Enjoy Him. Delight in Him. He delights in you.
Flee evil: pursue love, peace, righteousness.
Fall down: keep running.
Take off the old self: put on the new.
Rejoice like crazy, guard your mind with peace, practice godliness.
Tell your soul to remember.
The Old You is dead: you’re in Christ.
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
— G.K. Chesterton