Where's the Rejoicing?

There is nothing more miserable than watching someone else rejoice while you're suffering or angry!

It's a terrible feeling.  :-) As  Christians, we're often tempted to "fake it until we make it!"

Jesus talks about rejoicing in Luke 15.  He specifically talks about the rejoicing that takes place when a "sinner" repents.  Think about the last time that hearing someone's life-story made you rejoice.  You get excited when they get to the part about the crazy things they used to do or think and then wham-o, right out of nowhere they repent.  Jesus performs drastic life-changing spiritual surgery on them and they instantly have a new point of view.   They're on a different road headed in a different direction.

We don't hear a lot of these kinds of things any more because 1) we are afraid to talk about sin and be honest about the reality of  being "sinners."  Poor Jesus used such mean and outdated words that we couldn't possibly use today! (I'm being sarcastic!)  I mean certainly we can't be so harsh with people.  (I'm being sarcastic again!) I agree that we should be kind, loving, courteous, but absolutely truthful with folks.

And the other reason we don't hear this much is  2) we don't ask people to "repent."  Repentance is a change of mind.  It's a u-turn on the highway of life.  It says "Wow, I can't believe that's what I was thinking and doing!"

So much of "church" has become "partnering" or "joining" or "promoting" or "working" or "sponsoring."  In many ways, church has replaced the Savior with itself.  The life-giving Holy Spirit is ever ready to call sinners to repentance, but He often uses us to do it.  When was the last time  you really loved someone and told them about Jesus?  The loving-on them part is sometimes easier than the actually getting to the nitty-gritty part of  telling them about Jesus and how to respond and repent.

We wouldn't have to work so hard on producing a man-made "atmosphere" of worship at church if we had genuine joy from seeing people come to Christ on a regular basis.  Luke 15:7 talks about the joy that wells up in Heaven among the angels when a sinner repents.  A few lines later in verse 10, we find the phrase "in the presence of the angels" which is often a way to indicate God Himself.  God Himself rejoices when people come to know Him.

What better way could we spend our time, energy, money, and efforts than telling people the Great News about Jesus and seeing sinners repent and find the abundant life of Jesus?


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