Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! Psalm 32:10-11
There is a sin of being too serious when my pride drives the tone of words and the tenor of my attitude. The sin of being too serious manifests itself with me being the center of attention: my agenda, my desires, my needs and most of all, my way. Selfish and self focused, I can even attempt to leverage the Lord’s name in seeking to gain a conversational edge or influencing an outcome. There are serious matters I need to take seriously: sin, salvation, heaven and hell, all call me to humble myself before the mighty hand of God. Gratefully, humility leads to trust and joy!
The woes of the wicked come from a distorted love that is self focused, not God focused. A selfish love fails on all occasions, while the unfailing love of the Lord surrounds those who trust in Him with the success of sweet peace and gladness. A life that releases its expectations is lifted up into the presence of angels on high, while a life bent on having its own way is dragged down into the dirge of demons. Pride fuels the sin of becoming too serious. Humility frees the heart to rest in righteousness and not brandish self-righteousness as a sword of self-serving seriousness.
“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches” (Psalm 119:14).
There is an otherworldly joy that accompanies a heart that follows hard after Christ’s commands. A hard heart congratulates itself and celebrates what it has acquired in the riches of this world, but a soft heart sings with thanksgiving to the only One—Jesus, who provides true riches! Joyful obedience to Jesus is attractive, not overly concerned with perfection, but trusts God’s grace to fill in the gaps of an imperfect life. Guilt free because of grace. Shame free because of salvation. Greed free because of generosity. Fear free because of trust. Faith and love refresh the soul.
Have you lost the joy of your salvation? Is the joy of the Lord your strength or has your faith become stale? Remember when you didn’t know any better than to gladly and gratefully obey God, and then something hard happened. The church let you down. A Christian failed you. Life was not fair. You were penalized for your faith. Or, you began to feel superior and demandingly serious, expecting others to become more like you and your ways. Perhaps you should start by taking yourself less seriously and the Lord more seriously. Humility finds freedom in faith and offers freedom to those around them. Grace creates a glad, grateful, obedient heart. Seriously—smile!
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you” (Psalm 51:12-13).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me take seriously what you take seriously and rejoice in what gives You joy, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Application: In what area of my life do I need to give myself permission to not take so serious and instead enjoy my freedom in Christ?