What do you think non-believers think of the church? Do they see it as a happy place? When they picture its people do they see souls rejoicing? I fear not. More than likely they see us as cookie cutter copies of people who will believe anything, follow the rules and beat our chests because of their failures to be perfect.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, that’s sometimes the message we share. But is that the message God would have us give to the world? One of mourning and a failure to live up to expectations?
In the book of Psalms, we find chapters of both lament and praise. Both find reason in every Christian life. But what would God have us dwell on? We go to Psalm 150. It’s the very last Psalm and God is leaving us with one final thought. I believe he saved it for last because its what he wanted us to remember the most. It says:
“Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”
Yes, there will be times of mourning and sorrow in every life, but that is not what God would have us dwell on. Instead, he would have your life to be filled with rejoicing! He would have us be in constant celebration in the understanding that we are His. He would have us eagerly anticipate our eternal life in heaven free from the curse we inherited here on earth.
Celebrations should not be foreign to any Christian. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever your do, do all to the glory of God.” Every waking moment should be cause for celebration. God would much rather have us in song then in remorse.
Yes, we have all fallen short, but that is why God sent us His Son to take away our brokenness. He didn’t send Jesus so that we could continue in our grief, He gave us Jesus so that we might have reason to celebrate! He gave us His Son so that regret would no longer be a stumbling block.
“Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). The Corinthians had many reasons to lament. They were a small church in a large city filled with foreign God’s. They were probably persecuted, chastised and ridiculed, yet Paul would have them celebrate.
In God’s family there is no room for malice and evil. Instead, He prepares a banquet filled with all the best food and drink. Heaven will be filled with celebration and rejoicing and God would have us to start the party here on earth in anticipation for what is to come. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
Don’t live your life as if God would have you in constant sorrow for your sins. Celebrate His Son who came to take that sin away so that we would have reason to rejoice! Trust in Him and the promises he fulfilled so that we might easier concentrate on the good. Take advantage of the amazing gifts of repentance and forgiveness and learn to live your life in song. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!” Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us enough to send your only Son so that we might have reason to celebrate. Forgive us for all those times we have forgotten all You have done for us and teach us to trust in You for everything that is good. Amen.