Jesus is joy
In popular culture the devil’s followers have all the fun and religious people are pitied as dry, sad, cheated, uptight, moralistic, crabby, judgmental, rigid hypocrites. Billy Joel sold a million records with his bouncy piano accompanying this philosophy: “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints; sinners are much more fun . . .”
That’s just a shabby excuse to go against your conscience and be selfish. In fact, Jesus is joy, not gloom, and a relationship with him gives you a reason to hum a tune all day long. Jesus himself projected such a joyful and celebratory vibe in his public ministry that he was criticized for not being sober and grim-faced enough. “They said to him, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus answered, ‘Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?’” (Luke 5:33,34).
The gospel of our forgiveness makes us all optimists. Satan is defeated, our sins forgiven, our guilt washed away, our debts paid, our future guaranteed. The Great Power of the universe is our Friend, Healer, Counselor, and Father. Our graves will be only comfy beds where our bodies take a little nap.
Grace has triumphed over condemnation, and mercy has triumphed over judgment. Let’s have some cake! And a song! Somebody tell Billy Joel how much fun we are.
Set Free by Graceis a collection of devotions that will remind you daily of God’s great love for you, help you get your thinking rearranged toward God’s agenda, and boost your courage and strength to overcome the daily struggles and temptations that you face.
God promises those who study his Word that they will find greater clarity in understanding life, greater comfort in knowing his love, greater resilience to life’s hardships, and greater joy in service. And that’s exactly what we pray for you as you dive into this 365-day devotional.
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