“Joy, Not Religion” – Pastor’s Pen, August 2022

William Wilberforce was loved as much as he was respected. Driven by his faith, he joined with others and campaigned to end the slave trade. It was a long, wild ride, and at times he was said to be both the most admired and the most hated man in England.

Jesus was both admired and hated as well. And those of us who are trying to live with Christ inside us can expect to face moments of negative reaction. But when we’re properly rooted and looking to him, those extremes won’t matter so much. We have something greater inside ourselves than the opinions of others. We hold the keys to life and freedom in our hearts. Christ brings that to us, quietly and with love. He brings us joy, never religion.

When I was a kid growing up, church services so often were lacking in joy. They seemed to be about rules and solemn voices. No wonder I assumed that God was cold and impersonal. But Jesus wants to show us the truth about what it means to live with Him. “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). When we try to live in Jesus’ footsteps, things get put into perspective. The highs and the lows that used to turn our heads can begin to lose their power. And the quiet, still, unsung moments can excite out hearts. The joy of Jesus creeps up on us. Finally – perhaps for the first time in our lives – we begin to discover what true freedom really looks like.

Blessings to you,
Pastor John