Think about it - isn’t the term “miserable Christian” an oxymoron? How can anyone be a Christian and be miserable?
Yet would a casual observer who encounters random Christians during the course of a day - whether the observer be atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, or an alien from outer space - come to that conclusion?
Many people who call themselves Christians, believe they are Christians, and have accepted Christ as their personal savior and been born again in the Spirit, act as if they are among the most miserable people on the planet.
They respond to a “good morning!” with a scowl. They yell, curse, or snap over nothing. They complain about everything. Their moods are stuck on foul. They act as if another day of life is a curse rather than a blessing. Others just want to get away from them.
How can this be? We have every reason to be joyful. We have passed from death to eternal life. Our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. We are filled with the Holy Spirit. So what gives?
We can’t read minds, but I’d guess one of two things. One, some may not be genuine Christians - this group is “in name only.” We should pray for them and talk with them when opportunities present themselves. Two, most of us are genuine Christians, but sometimes we distance ourselves from God and Christ because of things that have happened (or are happening) in our lives. We’ve all done this to one degree or another. Nobody’s perfect, and none of us is a saint.
The distancing can be minor and fleeting - we are having a bad day or bad week. Tomorrow (or next week) we will get back on track, through prayer, reading God’s word, talking through it with a spouse or friend, acknowledging the triviality of the problem, or simply realizing God’s in control.
Or the distancing can be significant and moving toward permanent. Something’s really wrong. Crossing paths with these brothers and sisters in Christ presents opportunities for us to make a difference. First, by showing kindness, patience, and gentleness. Each of us must do his or her best to exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Second, when possible, by humbly and gracefully engaging the person in a deeper discussion. This deeper dive won’t normally happen with strangers, but it could. Watch for those “divine nudge” or “tap” moments, and don’t hesitate to jump in (even though your mind will be screaming “mind your own business!”).
What should be our standard state of being, as Christians? Joyful! Of course, there will be bad days, but even on the worst days we can still know God is with us and loves us. Our normal condition, however, should be one that embodies and reflects the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We should rejoice in our special relationship with God and the sealing of our eternal destiny. As Paul tells the early believers in Corinth and Philippi, let others see this joy!
2 Corinthians 13:11:
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
(NIV/copyright 2011 Biblica, Inc.)
LIGHT SPARK MEDIA
Copyright James Wallace 2020