The Joy Stealers
October 31, 2006
Sometimes we Christians, in our effort to be pious, just end up being silly. Halloween is one of those times.
There's a guy in our neighborhood who has, for as long as I remember, had a vinyl sign, about 6 feet across, hanging over his front door with some type of come to Jesus message. I don't know about anyone else but every time I see that sign what I read is come to Jesus and you can help lower people's home values too. Or come to Jesus and you can violate the homeowners association rules in the name of your God too.
So now comes Halloween. The streets are full of kids boiling over with excitement about the prospect of dressing up in their costumes and people giving them candy. "Wow! what a concept. We knock on doors and people give us bags full of candy? They should have Halloween every week." Some people go all out decorating their houses, putting on costumes, putting on little performances all in the hopes of getting a laugh out of a kid, or adding a little joy to someone's life.
In this scenario a lot of Christians take pride in playing the part of the Grinch. "Why we can't put on costumes and celebrate Halloween that's a pagan holiday." So this particular guy was standing out in front of his house looking quite grinchy. He had apparently just put in a new lawn so his yard was surrounded with crime scene like tape so that no one would walk on it. Which is understandable. But on top of that he was standing out in front of his house and in an over abundance of caution was glaring at all the passersby. Most of the passersby were kids.
So here's the scenario. The guy who advertises to the neighborhood that he's a Christian is out glaring at all the neighborhood kids, while other people in the neighborhood are spending a lot of time, effort and money trying to bring joy to some kids lives. Hmmm something is wrong with this picture.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
You notice what's missing from this list… yeah correct doctrine. The way you can tell if you're walking in the spirit is that you're producing the stuff on this list. The way you can tell if you're being a good Christian, isn't that you have correct doctrine, it's that you are producing the stuff on that list. One of the things on that list is joy. If you're not producing joy you're not being a good Christian. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, those who produce joy are walking in the spirit, those who aren't, aren't.
So what message does this mighty, witnessing Christian send to the neighborhood? If you want joy don't hang out with Christians. Now that's the way to win people to Christ. Let's not be joy stealers, instead let's try our best to be joy bringers, then we'll be the children of our father who is in heaven.