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where is the love, oh Christian?

June 3, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our responsibility as Christ-followers to love the world around us. I’ve also been thinking about what true joy looks like in the life of a believer.

I get so confused when I meet people who claim to follow Christ, but who never smile, go out of their way to love, or have any kind of joy. It actually really bothers me. My friend asked me the other day: “Are some Christians just like that naturally, and others are not?”

It was a great question. I think yes, it has to do with personality- some display it more clearly, but I also think there is something more to why joy might be lacking.

I’m not saying I always have a smile on my face, am a joyful person, or love people all the time (just get to know me personally and you’ll surely see my off days) but overall, I hope and pray that people see a joy radiating within me, that only Christ can give. That they see a love and joy that is contagious even in my imperfections.

If we’ve been called to love the world, can that happen apart from joy? I mean, there needs to be some kind of joy in our lives to love well, right? Otherwise, I think the danger of loving people out of duty instead of delight creeps in and that’s a bad place to be.

Are you ever bothered by “Christians” who lack genuine love and joy in their life?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2010 10:53 am

    Bother me? Oh yes, it bothers me. Yet I can relate to both sides. I have mostly been frustrated with my own inconsistency to feel “the joy of the Lord.” I know it’s not always possible every second of the day but one thing I’ve realized is that when I’ve gone a long time withouth smiling or laughing it’s because I’ve began to live out of my own strength. I’ve taken control of the situation and may have even started to lean towards a more legalistic mentality when it came to my faith. Legalism will suck the joy out of anything. The other reason is simply that I lack the faith to believe that God really does and can move in my circumstances. Hoplessness in other words.

  2. June 3, 2010 11:08 am

    Amy- I resonate completely. And have been on both sides. I think it’s healthy to see that we’ve all seen both (within us and around us). Often times, it’s my own inability to walk in the Spirit and allow him to have control and instill his joy within me.

    Lately, I have found great joy in obedience to His Word and fearing the Lord more than I have in the past. That fear has led to greater joy in my respect to my husband and in other relationships, etc.

    “Legalism will suck the joy out of anything.” I love how you said that. And we’re all capable of it.

    Thanks for the comment. I was able to read your About section on your blog and really appreciated your honesty. Thanks for coming by!

  3. June 3, 2010 4:36 pm

    Dang! This hit me between the eyes. I’ve been THAT Christian. In fact, I was that person just a few days ago, and I should be thankful that my wife and kids called me out on it (although I didn’t agree with them at the time – oh the irony…or dare I say…pride???)

    Much too easy for me to fall into frustration than joy. And that’s not healthy. I’m thankful I’ve got brothers in Christ holding me accountable in addition to family that can see through me.

  4. June 4, 2010 10:10 am

    I definitely notice, and in my own life too, of course, Christians living on a sort of “autopilot”, not living fully, not realizing how much fullness there is to be had every day, in the knowledge and truth of who God, is, what He’s doing, who we are in Him, and all the beautiful simplicities and complexities of life. Sometimes, I do, in fact, what to shake some of those people up a bit- especially when they (or I) fall in to the pattern of living safely, living comfortably, and living within the rules we set up for ourselves, rather than living in the heartier, gray areas of discerning and following God’s daily adventure for us.

  5. June 4, 2010 5:17 pm

    I’m with Andy. I’ve certainly been THAT Christian sometimes. Actually, because of God’s grace I have not been that person as much as I used to. I realized that the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. That I STUDY MY BIBLE DEEPLY, that I go to Church, that I tithe, that I am part of a community of believers DOES NOT PROVE ME TO BE A CHRIST-FOLLOWER.

    “Christian” is a term that the world imparts to believers. Believers should not call themselves Christian. Let the world do it! Jesus said his disciples would be his “witnesses.” Not only would they witness his work, but they would be a witness before the world as a testimony of Jesus Himself, the God-man who gave his life so that man can enjoy the gift of relationship with God. Thus, calling yourself “Christian” is not for you to do. Again, let the world do it! Let the endow you with that glorious term. Then you will know that you are indeed a witness to the world. They

    The reality is that either we are with Christ or we are without him, and again, the fruit of being with Him is NOT “CHRISTIAN” ACTIVITY. It is the fruit of the Spirit who indwells the believer as the seal that authenticates the promise of God’s gift.

    So, today I am marvelous, wonderful, superb, excellent, blessed, fabulous, privileged, highly-favored, exuberant, and JOYFUL baby! Today, I have the rich and lasting blessing of being in relationship with the Father who loves us. I have the gift of His Son.

    So, how are you?

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