Summary: A message calling Christians to live a life characterized by joy, not grumpiness. This is an expansion on part of the message, "Lighten Up!", also posted on this site.
Living a Lifestyle of Joy
August 24, 2003
We all like being around people who are generally upbeat, don’t we?
I mean, if you had your choice of being with someone who had a smile or someone who looked like he was weaned on sour lemons, who would you most likely pick?
I’d pick the smiley guy almost every time, and here’s why.
One thing I have never been able to understand is the notion of a grumpy Christian.
Grumpy Christian. To me that seems like an oxymoron on the same level as jumbo shrimp, or plastic glass, or congressional budget cuts.
If you were to put a subtitle on this message, it would be, "Lighten Up!"
It’s genuinely hard for me to understand how someone who claims to be walking with God could be grumpy for any length of time.
You know the kid’s song, "If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands?" I’d like to re-word that a bit and sing, "If you¡¦re happy and you know it, tell your face."
Now let me be quick to say that I am not talking about sadness. I am not talking about genuine SORROW.
Painful losses in our lives can steal our joy, although I also believe Scripture teaches that joy can still be a major component of those who have lost someone or something they value.
And I am not talking about some fake happiness. I would never suggest we walk around with a plastic smile on our face pretending that everything is okay all the time.
Things happen, things go wrong, and we are faced with heartache and hurt.
I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about a basic attitude, how we carry ourselves.
Let me ask you a question. How would others characterize your attitude - your "bearing," if you will?
Do they see you living a life of joy, peace, and rest, or do they see someone who looks like they have no hope for today, much less for eternity?
Which attitude do you think will be more likely to attract someone to the gospel?
Think about it - why would anyone want to be a Christian if the ones he sees are always sullen and grumpy?
Can you imagine someone with a perpetually long face trying to tell someone the "Good News?"
"What’s so good about it? The prospect of being as cheerful and excited as you? No thanks!"
My purpose today is to encourage you to be the type of person other people point to when they are discussing people they like being around.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, comes from being a person characterized by joy.
There are over 200 references to joy in the Bible.
By joy, I don’t mean "happiness," because happiness is dependent on circumstances. Heartburn from eating a pizza too fast can make you unhappy, right?
Joy is an inward attitude that has God as its OBJECT and its SOURCE. It’s much deeper than happiness, and can present even in the midst of pain.
Why? Because the focus of joy is not the pain or the circumstance, but God.
How do we become people who live a lifestyle of joy?
1. Find Joy in the Lord.
First, as I just mentioned, joy has God as its object and its source.
If you can focus on Him, then it is easier to have joy in Him.