Day 17: Celebrate Good Times
Some Christians feel guilty when they are happy. With a personal history of sin, a world of grief, and so much to be done before Jesus returns, how can times be good? They look at the heart of God and see only sadness and stress. They reason that a good God could not be happy with what He sees and, therefore, neither can we.
But God has not created us for futility. This is perhaps a surprising message from the sad book of Ecclesiastes, but we read about this God of joy in other books of the Bible, too. Fruitfulness, prosperity, blessedness, contentment, and inner peace are all gifts from above. And it’s never wrong to enjoy His gifts.
Is that hard to do? Some people have too easy a time of it, but historically some of our denominations and theological perspectives have discouraged happiness. They meant to discourage meaningless and profane frivolity, not true joy. The Christian life is to be a joyful life; the Bible makes that clear. Rather than always seeing what’s wrong in our lives, what’s wrong in the world, and what God wants to do to fill in the gaps, we are to frequently look at what God has given us, how He has blessed His gifts, and what He has already done to fill in the gaps. Spiritually speaking, we often barely notice that our glass is filling up; we focus on its remaining emptiness. In truth, we’re allowed and even urged to notice that the glass is often half empty on this planet. But we are to dwell on the fact that it’s half full. Thankfulness is to dominate over discontentment in our thinking.
How can we do this? Like soldiers in combat, we can be altogether serious about our jobs while still enjoying a rest and a laugh in between the battles. Like athletes in training, we can enjoy the competition now and can already look forward to the victory celebration. If we think being serious about the Kingdom of God means deferring gratification until heaven, we’re wrong. God and His gifts are to be enjoyed. Now. When times are good—and if you look hard enough, they usually are—be happy.
This is an excerpt from The One Year Walk With God by Chris Tiegreen, now available at OMF Lit and Passages Bookshops, PCBS, and our online store, passagesbooks.com for only P365.
Learning to think God's way is a process.
That's what these daily readings are about―relying upon the Word to redirect our thinking so we understand ourselves, our world, and our God accurately. They are designed to move us further along that path toward renewed minds and transformed lives.
As you read this book, let the spirit of God shine the light of true wisdom on you.