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Common Lectionary: Lent 2B, Proper 8C, 16B, 28B
Christians often think showing joy or enthusiasm is less holy or sophisticated, yet God made us for the joy found in his presence and in the Body of Christ.
Keywords: - Lewis, Piper, Fruit of the Spirit, Holiness, Service, Sex, Drugs, Psalms
Key Scriptures: - Psa 16, Psa 43
Other Scriptures: - Gal 5:19-23, Psa 126, 1Ch 15, Psa 27, Psa 50
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1. Fearing Pleasure
a. Pleasure or joy diminishes the holiness of service to God
b. Seeking pleasure will result in sex or drugs.
c. Joy and exuberance are not ‘sophisticated’
2. God made us for joy
a. Joy in God is permissible and commanded
b. Joy in worship helps us understand God and ourselves
c. Joy in God as a fruit of the Spirit
d. Joy in each other as members of the Body of Christ
Sometimes we as Christians fear pleasure. We may think that joy or pleasure in serving God diminishes the holiness of that service. Or we fear that if we go after pleasure whole-heartedly, it will end up in sex or drugs. Yet, this attitude is unbiblical; true service to God ought to be joyful. If we seek pleasure in God, the results are the fruit of the Spirit, not immorality. Our culture thinks things that look or sound emotional are less sophisticated. We have had joy refined out of us! The one exception to this is sports events. It is culturally acceptable to show enthusiasm at sports events, so why not at church? Is not God better than a soccer goal? It is both permissible and commanded to seek joy in God, for he made us for joy. Our worship of God is not for his sake, but for ours; it changes us and helps us to understand who God is and what he intends for us. The Psalms especially show how joy is a big part of our relationship with God. God is joy, and his pleasures should overwhelm us. We all need more of the joy of the Lord as found in the Psalms. The Psalmists ask of God no gift more urgently than his presence, the gift of himself, joyous to the highest degree, and remarkably real--like a physical hunger. I pray that we would willingly seek a full pleasure in God as a fruit of the Spirit, and that we would seek pleasure in each other as members of the Body of Christ. END