When my toddler gets jumping in her bouncer, she enjoys making eye contact with us as the smile beams from her face. She’s having fun, and she wants us to share her joy. When you go to an amusement park or concert, it’s just not the same if you go alone. You want someone else there to share your joy.
Life in Christ is like that. He gives us tremendous joy, because he has set us free from sin, death, and hell, and he has promised to be with us. He gives life new meaning. Values change; perspectives change; attitudes change — everything changes when Jesus comes into your life. No matter how difficult life gets, even when looking death in the face, Jesus gives joy and peace in the midst of it. The more we know Jesus and grow through his Word, the more joy we find. And because we have the joy, we want all to know the same joy. Like a toddler making eye contact, we want to connect with others, not seeing them as projects, but as people who can share our joy.
If you don’t have the joy, you can’t share it. It’s not an obedience issue— it’s a faith issue. I can tell you that you should tell people about Jesus, but if you don’t have joy in him, you just simply can’t. If you don’t feel compelled to share his love (shyness or feelings of inadequacy notwithstanding), this should concern you. It certainly concerns me.
But this is why we have made spiritual growth such a huge priority in our new way of doing church, which is really just the way the church used to do it. We want you to be filled with the joy of knowing God’s forgiveness, the joy of the presence of Jesus, and freedom from anything that would take away that joy. If spiritual growth isn’t a priority for you, you probably need Journey Groups the most. It’s not just about acquiring information, but acquiring joy.
Consider these questions:
- Do any of these — worship services, reading your Bible, tithing, daily prayer, community service — sound like chores to you instead of exciting opportunities?
- Do you lack a clear sense of God’s plan for your life?
- Do you lack Christian friends who constantly encourage you in your faith walk?
If you answered,”yes,” to any of these questions, you need to start as a Trainee. If you answered, “no,” to all of these, consider pursuing mentoring.
I pray that the joy of Christ’s love and presence fill you more and more as we grow together.