Happy Christian

Are you a fun person to be around? One very sad impression a lot of people have of Christians is that we are no fun! When I read about Jesus and his life there are moments when I grin because I can just hear him laughing as he speaks. It only makes sense to me to see Jesus this way because I don't think thousands would have followed a grumpy man who yelled about "to do's and "not to do's" all the time. Children loved him too. If you have kids, you know that they shy away from angry looking people but are more accepting of warm friendly folks. The bottom line is, Jesus was fun to be around.

Are we fun to be around?

I know, this is a rather simple conversation but I can't help but think there is a fundamental flaw in society's view of God. Of course, we are the image of God society sees and so it is really our own flaw that leaves people sometimes wondering why in the world they would sign up to be part of this crowd. If I am being perfectly honest with you, I would have to say I have walked both sides of that fence. I was, before God did his amazing work in me, more worried than carefree, more frustrated than at peace and more judgmental than accepting. Ironically, I was much less of a risk taker also. I say ironic because it seems that if I am going to boldly declare that I have found the key to living forever, I would be more daring while I live on this Earth. Today, I have a completely different perspective and that changes my mood, my attitude and even my actions. I love to laugh. In fact, I am teased constantly about the fact that I will laugh at anything, (even not so funny jokes)! Laughter and joy are contagious. People will be drawn to you when you exude joy. Like I said, I believe Jesus laughed a lot. I think he laughed hard enough sometimes that he cried. You know, the good kind of laugh that leaves your belly sore and causes other people to laugh just as hard because they are watching you laugh. In fact, I grin as I write because I really do see him like that...joyful, happy and laughing.

Can you see that Jesus?

I think Jesus' joy made him all that more intriguing to people. How in the world could someone talk about such heavy, serious topics all the time but remain lighthearted and happy? I think the mystery of that is what drew people to him and it's what draws people to us. When we sign up to be on his team, we are not signing up to never suffer or have bad days. We are, though, signing up to love through the bad days and have joy in the suffering. Oh, don't get me wrong here. I definitely have bad days! I am far from being that "every day is perfect" kind of girl, but I am getting some clues that really help me face whatever each days holds. I have truly decided that I can trust Jesus and so I find myself less inclined to worry. Stuff happens and will keep happening, but I absolutely believe what Jesus says to me and so I just don't worry. Of course, I have to be reminded sometimes that I trust him (ha!) but I am amazed at how much stress and frustrations just melts away when I choose not to worry.

I have also learned that it is possible to be accepting of people but not the wrong they do. I mean, Jesus accepts me despite the wrong I do. I don't feel the need to judge. Sure, I speak truth but I pray I do so in love and grace, just like Jesus. Again, the mystery of Jesus is that he never ever compromised his beliefs but he never forced them on anyone. He simply shared, with a smile on his face and kindness in his eyes, what he knew to be the truth. I want to be that way. I know I fail sometimes, but I have seen the powerful affects of living this new way of life and I will never go back. Do you know how much relief we can offer people when we tell them we don't love them for their actions, but just because they are lovable? Yes, I think we offer relief when we offer acceptance instead of condemnation. Praise God he offers me acceptance instead of condemnation! I have been set free because of it!

If we who call ourselves Christians truly embrace who Jesus is, people are bound to notice and want in! Smile at the cashier who may not be smiling back. Invite the neighbors over for a game night. Tell a joke to your co-workers! If we are gonna be Jesus to the world then we are gonna have to find joy in living on this Earth. I like to think of my time on this earth as practice. Even the joy I practice here is only a snapshot of the joy I will feel when I go home to Jesus. The love I offer others here is only a sneak peek of the love I will have for others in Heaven. Jesus lived this exhilarating, joy filled life knowing full well it was all leading to the cross. If he can do that, then I can do this.

So, let's be fun Christians! Let's be the life of the party. Jesus said he came to gives us life more abundantly. I pray my life is abundant in all that he is. I pray I live like I've got forever in front of me and death behind me. I have a picture on my wall that simply says: Live, Laugh, Love. I think that sums it up. Let's live loud, love much, and laugh often!

"May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop a maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we'll be a choir-not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". Romans 15:5-6 (msg)



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