These days, you don’t have to be a news junky to hear of events that arouse strong disapproval or outright anger. But how should Christians feel about the foolishness and wrongdoing going on in our world and our culture? Should we be unmoved? Should we be perpetually outraged? What about Christian joy?
The Bible is clear that some things ought to get us worked up. We’re called to “hate evil” (Psalm 97:10, Prov 8:13, Amos 5:15), to “be angry” yet “not sin” (Eph 4:26).
We’re also called to be imitators of God and to be re-formed in His image (Eph 5:1, Col 3:10, Gal 4:19). We’re to walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). And anger is clearly part of who God is.
God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. (ESV, Psa 7:11)
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:15–17)
Scripture is also clear, though, that human anger is tainted. We’re frequently warned against it. For us, “righteous indignation” is apparently less likely than the unrighteous variety.
…for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (Jas 1:20)
In the NT: "a unique connection between the Holy Spirit and joy.... 'rejoiced in the Holy Spirit' (Luke 10:21) ... 'received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit' (1 Thessalonians 1:6–7).... 'the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Romans 14:17)." - Desiring God
When we think of the story of Jesus’s birth in the little town of Bethlehem, we envision a beautiful and peaceful scene with shepherds and wise men gathered around a manger, worshipping the young Christ. But that’s not the whole picture! Matthew reminds us that the birth of Christ was not only associated with happiness and hope but also with feelings of profound sorrow and deep despair. In the second chapter of his Gospel, he recounts a tragic event that followed the birth of Christ, which Christian tradition refers to as “the Massacre of the Innocents.” In an attempt to kill the Christ-child, King Herod ordered the slaughter of all male children in Bethlehem under two-years of age.
Why does Matthew include this tragic story in his account? How does the sorrow of bereaved mothers in Bethlehem contribute to Matthew’s Gospel presentation? I address those questions in the message below. In short, we see that the tears of Bethlehem’s mothers belong to a trail of tears that reaches all the way back in redemptive history to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. What’s more, we learn that God himself is afflicted in the afflictions of his people. Best of all, we come to realize that the tears in Bethlehem mark a climax in the sorrow of God’s people that serves as a harbinger of the Messianic hope and deliverance that would come through the very Christ-child Herod sought to destroy.
If you’d like to see how this message is developed in Matthew’s Gospel and his interpretation of Jeremiah 31, watch the video or listen to the audio below.
"...when Paul writes to Timothy of a solitary Mediator, a single Mediator, with a capital 'M,' he’s referring to that Mediator who is the supreme Intercessor between God and fallen humanity. This Mediator, Jesus Christ, is indeed the God-man." - R.C.Sproul
By M.R. Conrad. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.
The lights dim as the music begins to play. The energy in the crowd seems to almost crackle audibly. You feel a surge of anticipation for the songs you know, the empowering words you always hear, and the inspirational, larger-than-life people you see standing before you. At a well-designed worship service, Bible conference, or summer camp, God seems real, close, and exciting.
Then, you go home and open your Bible alone. You know the Scriptures are filled with life-giving words and powerful examples, but somehow, it’s not the same. The atmosphere is gone. You struggle to maintain your interest. Spiritual dryness sets in. What is wrong with you? Where has the joy gone?
In Psalm 16:11, David speaks of the joy that you now are missing: “You [God] will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” What is this joy? Joy is a positive mindset that expresses our satisfaction and pleasure in things we value. We find joy in what is most important to us. What do we value most?