If most Christians were honest, they would admit to believing that God can be (to some degree) mean, demanding, vengeful, judgmental, hard to please, etc.
Why do many have these thoughts about God? Religious doctrine and influence.
Religion has many oughts, shoulds, musts, dos and do nots. Straight from the, often seen as, sacrosanct pulpit, come misunderstandings about who God really is and who we really are. The fruit of these religious traditionally based teachings are confusion, striving, guilt, fear, condemnation.
If believers could express how they really feel, they would acknowledge
- how hard they try to please God
- how they want to please God, even if they think they don’t
- how they wonder what will God do next to punish them if they step out of line – the line that religion draws in the sand
Have you ever thought about the narrow line religious Christianity or churchianity draws? Jesus did say, “narrow is the way”. He was not talking about morality. He was talking about Himself being the only way, and that way leads to incredible freedom and fullness. There is no narrowness in Him!
Okay, let’s just imagine you are right – God is mean and demanding. If that is even possibly true, then what do you do with the multiple references about a joyful God?
Seriously, can exuberant joy and meanness be expressed together? Not.
1. God’s Joy At The Beginning
God had crazy joy about us from the ‘get go’, even before the get go!
Proverbs 8:22-31 alludes to references of Jesus being with the Father before He began creation, Jesus’ involvement in creation, and how Jesus thought about us.
Here is Jesus’ crazy joy:
- vs.30 “I was beside Him as a master craftsman, and I was daily His delight, vs.31 rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.”
- vs 31 key Hebrew words elaborated –
- I was rejoicing, laughing, joking, playing, celebrating, smiling always before Him
- I was rejoicing, laughing, joking, playing, celebrating, smiling in His inhabited world
- My delight, pleasure, enjoyment was with and in the sons of men (mankind)
I’m thinkin’ He really likes us, all of us! We are His celebration! We make Him smile and laugh! We are His joy! We bring Him pleasure!
By the way, did you notice there were no qualifiers for His joy over us? We did nothing to make Him rejoice over us – no performance, no service, no sacrifices, no rituals, no nothing. From the get go He was already rejoicing.
Now, why do we think God is so heavy??? Actually, God is ‘heavy’, if you will, in His lightness!
Most of us have never got that, because religion does not know that kind of ‘heavy’ God. Religiosity is the heavy one in all its requirements.
2. God’s Presence Is Joy
In Your presence is fullness of joy. (Psalms 16:11)
- presence means ‘face’ – there is a face to face rejoicing that He has for us, no long distance joy with Him!
- fullness means satiety and abundance
- joy means delight, exceeding joy, extremely, festival, gladness, happiness, joy, mirth, pleasure, rejoicing
Most Christians have been taught you need to do some stuff in order to get into His presence. This is a false teaching.
His presence is already in you. He is already face to face with you!
Why don’t we get that? Once again, we need to get free from religious tradition, doctrine, and churchianity that promotes a distant, demanding God.
The truth is He can’t get any closer to you or deeper in you than He already is.
You are in His presence right now. His exceeding joy, delight, mirth, pleasure, and festival is yours for the enjoying. You don’t have to earn it, manipulate, or please. Go for it!
It’s okay to dance, laugh, joke, smile, be deliriously joyful. He sure is. And He is over you! Be the same. Remember you are a reflection of Him.
- One of the keys to tapping into and releasing His joy is to be honest about your thoughts of Him being mean and demanding. He is not mad at you about this. He just wants those lies brought to the light. He will laugh those lies right out of you.
- God has been joyful before the beginning. You began before the beginning in His joy and He has never stopped being joyful over you. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Now that is an eternal freeing truth!
- Remember – it is impossible to be filled with joy and be mean at the same time. A human being can’t do that, and God can’t either! God is total joy. Ditch the ‘lie’ of meanness.
More joy points to come!